Don’t underestimate the power of a potato — especially one harvested as part of the “Smart Potatoes” school program.

Students at George Clarke Elementary School will be digging up spuds beginning at 8:30 a.m. Friday.

The program is coordinated by REAL School Gardens, a local nonprofit that builds gardens at low-income schools and then spends three years training teachers on how to use them to improve academics.


Digging a potato out of the ground provides countless ways to teach students about the world around them.

They learn about soil, planting, watering, weeding, fertilizing, composting, and harvesting. They get their hands dirty. They come across worms and insects to study. They learn about crop disease, such as the mid-19th century potato blight in Ireland that led to widespread immigration to the United States.

In the end, they learn about humanity and giving back to the world around them. The potato harvest is donated to the Travis Avenue Baptist Church Food Pantry. Last year, the school grew and harvested more than 200 pounds of potatoes.


  1. The First Lady, who determines nutritional values for Americans, thinks poor women, infants and children get enough potatoes as it is.

    I don’t think she’ll like this.