There are many benefits of installing school gardens on school campuses. Helping children reconnect with the source of their food, spending time outdoors, and providing an outdoor setting for learning science, biology and math are just a few! Another major benefit of school gardens is to encourage healthy eating habits, thus helping the fight against childhood obesity and other related health issues.
According to the American Heart Association, about 12 million children ages 2-19 are obese. Since the 1970′s obesity rates among children have tripled, and these children have a 70-80% chance of becoming obese adults (according to the County of Los Angeles Public Health). This puts them at a higher risk for heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers and even premature death. That is why it is of the utmost importance that we do what we can, right now, to fight childhood obesity!
A child does not live their whole lives at school, however there are many ways that their experiences in an on-campus edible garden can carry good eating habits into their daily lives. Learning about nutrition is a natural side effect of school gardens. It enables students to connect with the source of their food, and feel a sense of pride and excitement at the finished product. This leads to learning about and consuming more fruits and vegetables. Edible gardens provide an “outdoor kitchen,” where students can gather together and cook the foods that they harvest.
Do you have any other thoughts on how school gardens encourage healthy eating habits? Let us know!