kids and gardening

Without Gardens, Schools Lack Some Important Lessons

For a full education, kids should get their hands dirty.

Without Gardens, Schools Lack Some Important Lessons

School gardens connect kids to where their food comes from.

STATE COLLEGE, PA— Childhood obesity has skyrocketed in the last few years. Most recent stats show that nearly 17% of school-age children are obese. And a 2008 report found that these kids are woefully deficient in the nutrients their growing bodies need most. So what’s the problem?

According to Chrissa Carlson, project leader and gardening educator of the Baltimore City Food Stamp Nutrition Education Project, the answer is easy: Not enough kids are getting their hands dirty at school. She spoke about the challenges and triumphs of helping kids garden at school during the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture’s 18th Annual Farming for the Future conference in State College, PA, earlier this month.

THE DETAILS: Many schools are equipped with cafeterias that can only warm premade, processed foods, says Carlson. While Baltimore is in the early stages of trying to get better food into the lunchroom, Carlson and her colleagues are already getting things done in outdoor school gardens. The food they grow can’t be used prepared in school cafeterias because of strict codes, but it does give the kids a change to form a relationship with produce by growing it fresh in outdoor classrooms. “Eating habits start early, and kids need help,” Carlson says. “Fruits and vegetables shouldn’t be the side dish, they should be at the center of the plate.”

WHAT IT MEANS: Don’t rely on your school cafeteria to serve as nutritional educators. It’ll take a little organizing on your part, but by finding and working with an enthusiastic principal, school board member, or other administrator, you could be on your way to putting fresh food knowledge in students’ hands.

Here’s how you can get veggies sprouting for kids in your community:


Published on: February 24, 2009

More from our Authors

Ready to turn your tired soil into no-toil garden gold? Learn how you can enjoy bumper crops, less watering and fewer weeds in one easy step.

I have to agree with you on

I have to agree with you on this matter. I have spoken to a few of my friends who have a masters degree in social work online and we agreed on the fact that schools don't get involved enough in order to promote a healthy life style and fight against bad eating habits. That is why obesity is a problem and the number of people who are obese is increasing.

Start Your Wellness Journey!
Sign up for updates on Rodale Wellness and get your FREE wellness journal to help you find your path to vibrant health. Click here to start your unique journey!

Free Newsletter
Sign up for our FREE newsletters to stay up to date on all of our wellness news.

  The Daily Fix
Useful news and practical tips to help you live a healthy life on a healthier planet.

  Wellness in Action
Find your path to vibrant health, and get your free wellness journal as our thanks!

You may unsubscribe at any time.

Your Privacy Rights. About Us.