Farmer Frog Grows Edible Gardens at Local Schools
Farmer Frog created its first school garden at Everett’s Olivia Park Elementary in 2008 and it still thrives today.
PHOTO: JOSHUA HUSTON
Zsofia Pasztor has been interested in plants since she was a girl growing up in Hungary. She’s since made it her life’s work to spread the gospel of environmental sustainability to children and families.
In addition to her other endeavors, she runs the nonprofit Farmer Frog, which aims to curb child hunger by turning underutilized sites at local schools and in the community into environmentally sound, food-producing farms and gardens.
Farmer Frog was born when Pasztor and her husband, Zsolt, also a horticulturist, worked with Olivia Park Elementary School in Everett, where their two children were then enrolled, to start a garden following the 2008 economic crash, which left many of the school’s families struggling to meet their food needs. The response was overwhelming, and today there are edible gardens at 13 schools and five community locations throughout the Puget Sound region, including an educational garden at the Muslim Association of Puget Sound in Redmond and a therapeutic garden for veterans and their families at Horses Healing Heroes in Monroe.
PHOTO: JOSHUA HUSTON
Founder Zsofia Pasztor created Farmer Frog in response to the food shortages she observed in her community caused by the Great Recession.
During the school year, Farmer Frog works with teachers, parents and students to establish and maintain the gardens, and to integrate the subject into the classroom curriculum. In the summer months, the organization offers externships for teachers and camps for students interested in sustainable food production.
Farmer Frog doesn’t charge schools for its services, depending on volunteers, donations, sponsorships and revenue from its commercial and residential landscaping projects to make the projects happen.
Pasztor is driven by her need to feel like she’s making a difference and to educate people, especially with cuts to environmental protections and increasing pollution.
“I know that I’m doing everything I can,” she says. “Society, food, health, education, health care: it’s all connected.”
Learn more at farmerfrog.org