Capitol Corridor
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Posts Tagged: school gardens

Combining nutrition with academics yields results

A three-year UC Berkeley study shows that students who get a steady curriculum of gardening, cooking and nutrition have significantly better eating habits than children who don't get the same instruction, according to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle.

The report, by UC Berkeley's Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Center for Weight and Health, looks at how an integrated approach to food education at the elementary-school level contributes to children's desire to eat fruits and vegetables.

"It just validates everything we've known to be true," said Alice Waters, founder of the Chez Panisse Foundation, which funded the study.

An analysis of the study by Ed Bruske of The Grist, however, painted a less optimistic picture, saying that extraordinary resources that had to be put into play to achieve mixed results.

Fourth- and fifth-graders with access to the "highly developed" garden and culinary program increased their consumption of vegetables by nearly one serving per day, Bruske wrote. But as the students moved into middle school, they not only made little further progress, but they regressed -- even though they spent more time in gardening and cooking classes.

Researchers are hopeful that exposure to gardening and cooking in grade school will carry through to high school and the adult years, resulting in healthier eating habits in the long run.

"I really do think it makes an impact for life -- truly," chef Ann Cooper was quoted in the Grist article. "Middle school is tough no matter what. But in all other academic domains we continue to work with them, and we need to in this area as well."

School gardens can change eating behaviors.
School gardens can change eating behaviors.

Posted on Tuesday, September 28, 2010 at 8:07 AM

Master Gardeners help school kids grow veggies

An inner-city Los Angeles school has a small vegetable garden that is overseen by a University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardener, according to a story published yesterday in the Daily Breeze.

"This may be the only place they can have access to nature," the story quoted Master Gardener Kris Lauritson. "It's an outdoor classroom."

The school serves primarily Latino students; about 80 percent qualify for free and reduced lunches.

The program teaches students about healthy diets and gives them a chance to taste fresh foods they may not normally have at home. Students eat what they grow - turnips and broccoli, lettuce and spinach, soybeans, potatoes and cabbage.

Alice Acevedo, a school office worker observing the students as they worked in the garden, told reporter Douglas Morino the kids won't touch fresh fruits and vegetables put out in the cafeteria at lunch.

"But once they grow it themselves, they can't get enough. They're taking pride in what they're doing," Acevedo was quoted.

Los Angeles County's 181 Master Gardeners volunteered 9,272 hours in 2008, serving 87,376 low-income gardeners at 28 community gardens, 46 school gardens, 15 shelter gardens, 5 senior gardens and 13 fairs and farmers markets. For more information on the program and its services, see the LA Common Ground Web site.

It's worth clicking through to the Daily Breeze to see the photographs that accompany the school garden story. The off-axis, vivid and creative images are uncommon in photojournalism. I asked ANR Communications Services media services manager Mike Poe about the trendy garden art.

He said a lot of hip, cool, current video is shot that way.

"The photos are emulating that style to appeal to a young audience or indicate the subject is young," Poe said. "It's a technique I'd use very judiciously."

The school garden story and photos also appeared in the Pasadena Star-News.

LA's 2008 Master Gardener graduates.
LA's 2008 Master Gardener graduates.

Posted on Monday, February 1, 2010 at 10:23 AM
Tags: garden (69), gardening (45), low-income (1), Master Gardeners (51), school gardens (3)

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