Healthy Kids School Garden

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Let’s start a school garden. Healthy kids eat fresh organic fruits and veggies. School lunches can be greatly improved with fresh additions from the garden. Have lunch with your child and discover for yourself what’s being served at school. Are there vending machines with high calorie, low food value snacks? Is there a fresh salad bar? Are cooking or nutrition classes offered? Check with your local gardening clubs for volunteers to guide kids in creating a fun gardening project at school. Alice Waters demonstrated the many benefits both in health and academics of the children involved in her Edible Schoolyard in San Francisco, CA, which encourages meals made from scratch from school gardens, as does Jamie Oliver’s Kitchen Garden in England. Most schools have a patch of dirt that can be set aside for a garden. A sunny school wall can be fitted with vertical garden Woolly Pockets to grow vegetables and herbs. Perhaps your school has room for a greenhouse. Kids in cities have been alienated from nature and have no idea where their food comes from; they are afraid of bugs and of getting dirty. School gardens give kids not only food, but exercise, science projects, and the connection to what is alive on the planet around us. Pointing kids to the joys of growing and cooking their own food instills positive eating habits, leadership skills, and better attitudes. Parents can change the quality of kids’ school lunches.
1. Ask your child’s teacher what you can do to take up the Healthier U.S. School Challenge. Every school must develop a Wellness Plan according to the 2004 Children Nutrition and WIC re-authorization Act.
2. Convince your PTA and School Principal of the importance of a healthy school lunch and establish a Wellness Team of like minded parents, teachers, administrators, school nurse, P.E. coach, food service director, and lunch ladies.
3. Research the existing Wellness Plan and the key school administrator to see if the plan meets federal standards for healthy meals. There are grants and programs to help schools meet their wellness plan.
4. Suggest a local organic farm to deliver fresh produce for the salad bar, as in the Farm to School Program. Ask local businesses to donate a salad bar if your school doesn’t have one.
5. Encourage enriched activities such as farmer’s market tours, visit to an organic dairy or farm.
6. Fund raising for a School Garden can be a business class, where kids sell honey, dried herbs, baked goods, garden themed T-shirts, seed packs, plant signs, herbal soaps, and plants.
7. Encourage teachers to use the garden to teach science with beekeeping, worm bins, and compost bins.  Have a science lab with food in the cooking and nutrition classes.
8. Request cooking and nutrition classes that can be integrated into the curriculum.

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One thought on “Healthy Kids School Garden

  1. Pingback: A Healthy Kids School Garden | Cooking Magic for Kids

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