The Muhammad Ali Center of Lexington, Ky and Yum! Brands Foundation launched the global Muhammad Ali Center Peace Gardens project on September 21, 2010.
This coincided with the United Nations International Day of Peace.
Peace gardens focus on using edible plants from different cultures to teach youth about the world through culinary delights.
They also teach children how to “nurture and care for other living things” and remind them about the importance of fruits and vegetables in their diets.
Through the process of growing food students learn about nature’s processes and increase their access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
What better way to create awareness about hunger than to have them actively involved in growing a garden, taking food home to their families, and giving to the community?
The model for this idea came from the John F. Kennedy Montessori school. Children participated in all aspects of the garden including planting, nurturing, harvesting, cooking and donating food to the hungry.
The model garden consisted of different vegetable beds representing the different countries and the diverse cultures of the school.
- Squash and beans were grown in the United States/Native American garden and were used to make “3 Sisters Harvest Soup”.
- Tomatoes, peppers and onions were grown in a Salsa Garden representing Mexico.
- Sweet potatoes and black beans were grown in the Cuban garden bed
- Edamame was grown in the Asian bed
- Potatoes and cucumbers represented Russia.
“The ‘Muhammad Ali Center Peace Gardens’ program will sow the seeds of cultural respect by teaching children how to build gardens with plants from different countries,” said Greg Roberts, President of the Muhammad Ali Center.