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Chiefs Wide Receivers Go Green at Local Elementary School

Posted Apr 21, 2016

Chiefs wide receivers take a lesson on harvesting with Central Elementary fourth grade class

The Kansas City Chiefs wide receivers group showed off their green thumbs as they surprised Central Elementary’s fourth grade class during their yearly harvesting project.

The Chiefs Community Caring Team teamed up with Kansas City Community Gardens (KCCG) to join Central’s “Green Team,” made up of 24 fourth grade students with good scores in testing, behavior and attitudes.

The group planted and harvested vegetables in their spring garden as part of their yearly science curriculum.

Nine Chiefs receivers got to trade fields for the day, getting their hands dirty planting potatoes, broccoli, lettuce, spinach, green beans, carrots and radishes.

“Just us showing up and seeing their faces and being able to have conversations and interact with them, I think that’s the biggest thing,” receiver Jeremy Maclin said, “and obviously planting some fresh vegetables for those guys so they can eat clean. It was a really good day.”

Taking the Chiefs outside of their element, the students got a chance to do teaching of their own, showing their local heroes how to weed, sow, plant, water and harvest their very own vegetables.

“This is an awesome opportunity for us to come out in the community and work with some kids that have been learning about gardening,” receiver Chris Conley said. “They set the kids loose, and they got to teach us what they've learned about creating gardens, staying sustainable and growing their own food.”

In the school’s 10th year of its science-based project, KCCG’s schoolyard gardens coordinator MariAnna Henggeler expressed the importance of learning and integrating natural and fresh foods into their everyday lifestyles.

“Even if kids do eat vegetables on a regular basis, which not a lot do, a lot of them haven't seen that whole process of watching it go from a seed to the table,” Henggeler said. ‘’This is just exposing them to the process of growing and what it takes to grow. And also letting them taste new things that a lot of them haven't tried before.”

Aside from a lesson on harvesting with their favorite Chiefs players, students were also taught the correlation of taking the proper steps to reach a final conclusion in everyday situations, including ones on the football field.

“The lessons that you learn in life are important,” Maclin said. “They had to know exactly how to plant the plant, how to cover it and how to water it because those things matter. If it matters in the garden, it matters in other places—just like in life.”

2016 signifies the third consecutive year of the Chiefs partnering with KCCG. Together, they educate the Kansas City community on improved nutrition, reduced food costs and locally grown and sustainable food.

“I think it's extremely important for us to show that this stuff matters to us. It’s not always football for us,” Maclin added.

“That's what it’s all about—building a future,” receiver Rod Streater said. “Show these kids that we love to give back in the community even when we're not playing football.”

“It’s always a fourth grade project, so they're really excited to garden in general,” Henggeler added. “But having the Chiefs out here, people that they look up to, and having these guys encouraging them, I think that it’s great too.”

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KCCG is a not-for-profit organization that provides self-help and educational assistance to individuals in low-income areas and community groups in the metropolitan area. KCCG teaches individuals to grow their own food from garden plots located in backyards, vacant lots, school yards and other community sites.

For more information on Kansas City Community Gardens, visit KCCG.org

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