Growing your own food is a powerful tool for eating healthily, staying fit and enjoying nature in a fun, unique way. If you spent the summer gardening, grabbing fresh produce from friends, or even visiting your local farmers’ market, you know all too well the benefits of growing and having access to fresh, delicious and healthy food. Even better, fresh produce makes for the most nutritiously divine recipes!
Fresh food holds a special, irreplaceable spot in our lives. So we started to wonder, could gardening be the solution to a few of our nation’s health problems? With childhood obesity rates doubling in the past thirty years, incorporating the importance of fresh food and gardening into our country’s youth education seems like a worthwhile endeavor.
Many schools around the country are starting to incorporate gardening into their curriculum, whether in the classroom or outside in the early spring. The Green Bronx Machine, a non-profit operating in the Bronx, brings agricultural and gardening programs to inner-city neighborhoods in New York and beyond. Teaching children to plant and grow their own food has increased attendance rates significantly while making kids want to eat their fruits and veggies… after all, they grew them themselves!
Haley House Kitchen in Boston offers cooking classes for groups of kids in the toughest neighborhoods, teaching the importance of learning to cook in regards to health and cultural expression. Through food, these professional chefs teach the kids about other cultures, decreasing the animosity that leads to gang violence in the area.
Make it Happen
These programs are super successful in what they do, making kids happy and healthy around the country. Start your own with your kids! Using container gardens indoors or a small outside plot in the warmer months, gardening with your kids is a great way to teach them to love their fruits and veggies while spending time together. Cooking the produce afterwards is just the cherry on the nutritional pie!
How has gardening impacted your life? Do you see these types of programs being effective in your area? Share with us!