Health Education: Growing Gardens to Teach Kids About Nutrition
Health Education—We want the best for our children educationally, socially, economically, and nutritionally. We all run into obstacles that prevent the perfect attainment of that goal, though: shortness of time, shortness of money, shortness of strength, etc. Ultimately, we need to work with partners because we can't do it all: our husbands, perhaps extended family, our kids' schools and teachers, etc. Sometimes those partners can be nonprofits who work with schools to further goals like providing better nutrition at schools. Whole Kids Foundation is one such partner nonprofit organization.
The mission of Whole Kids Foundation is to end childhood obesity through partnerships with innovative organizations, schools, and educators, with whom it works to provide children access to healthier choices. These healthier choices are made possible by nutrition education provided to teachers, fundraising to get more salad bars into more schools, and the School Garden Grant program. They can be a great parental and academic ally in providing these research-proven benefits of school gardens:
- Improved knowledge of nutrition, food preferences, and consumption of fruits and vegetables
- Integration of multiple subject areas
- Enhanced overall academic achievement
- Improved understanding of agriculture and the environment
Through the School Garden grant program, the Foundation and its partner, FoodCorps, will offer $2,000 grants, along with curriculum, resources and mentorship, to 1,000 schools. FoodCorps’ expertise in gardening, and its ongoing support will help schools build and sustain their gardens to ensure long-term success. All schools and garden-related nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply for grants to support the launch or expansion of school gardens.
Why do we tell you about this? Because you can help ensure the optimal nutrition of your child while at school, as well as others', simply by shopping at your local Whole Foods Market this week. At checkout or online at WholeKidsFoundation.org, you can donate to the program until September 30th. “The School Garden Grant Program makes nutritious foods and healthy-eating education relevant and exciting for kids, and it extends learning outside the classroom,” said Walter Robb, Whole Foods Market co-CEO and Whole Kids Foundation board chairman.
“Gardens are such a magical place. As kids see plants growing and coming to life and they realize that food doesn't come out of a box or off a truck, but that it comes out of the ground from a seed, it makes relationship between food and nourishment real.” It's an easy way for you to help make a big difference.
So, if we want to improve our childrens' nutritional health, it makes sense that we'd need to work with their school(s) somehow, and since Whole Foods and FoodCorp are already doing that, it makes sense for us to support their efforts to get more gardens into schools. Tell your child's principal about the program by forwarding them this link.
How do you teach your kids about nutritional health? What techniques do you use to get your kids to choose healthy meals and snacks?
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