Global Gardens Set the Table for Change

At Global Gardens, students are experiencing the magic of planting a seed in the ground and committing to its care. It’s a program that is based on the idea that the care and maintenance of a garden can grow over into many other areas of our lives. We revel in the harvest we share with our students and their families and believe that the way we consume the food we grow and cook is an equally important part of the experience.

For Global Gardens’ Founder and Director Heather Oakley, that became a personal mission after the birth of her second daughter earlier this year. An avid gardener all her life, and an advocate for children and empowerment, Oakley admits that growing food in her garden rarely ended in family mealtime. “I could grow a garden full of food, but I didn’t feel comfortable in the kitchen,” Oakley said.

Inspired by the book, Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach and the overwhelming case for the benefit family dinners have, particularly on children, Oakley made a commitment to herself and her family to make mealtime a priority. When asked to share during the Library’s Take Five event that gave Oakley the stage for five minutes to talk about five books that had inspired her Dinner: A Love Story topped the list and the presentation begged a question. The evidence is there that sharing mealtimes enhances individual families, but what would happen if Tulsa, as a community, committed to family dinners?

With that, Set the Table Tulsa was developed as a challenge to Tulsans to commit to eating dinner together at least four nights a week during the month of November and to document the experience.

Although a new project for the non-profit, Global Gardens is an organization that is committed to empowering high-risk students and their families by providing opportunities for them to plant seeds of change – in the garden and in their own lives. In partnership with the Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, the Tulsa City-County Library and TulsaKids, Global Gardens is looking forward to encouraging not only the families serviced by our programs, but also the broader community because challenges to creating family mealtime are far reaching and the benefits have the potential to affect us all.

We’d love for you and your family to join in the effort by making the commitment to take time for family meals, enhance your mealtime with conversation and activities, and spread the word about Set the Table Tulsa. Let the conversation begin.

To learn more about Global Gardens and Set the Table Tulsa visit us online at

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Categories: Food