Posts Tagged: low-income
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.
Groceries cost more for the poorThe Fresno Bee devoted more than 2,000 words on Saturday to a sad but real paradox in the San Joaquin Valley. Low-income people pay more for their food than people who make more money.
The prime reason: low-income areas aren't served by large supermarkets, forcing people with limited transportation to purchase staples like bread and milk at corner markets and convenience stores.
The first expert cited in the lengthy piece was UC Cooperative Extension nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor Connie Schneider.
She said poor people know they are paying exorbitant prices for food at small stores, but the next opportunity to shop at a supermarket could be weeks away.
"When you're hungry, you're looking at something to fill a stomach," Schneider was quoted.
Fresno Bee writers Barbara Anderson and Bethany Clough delineated the fallout from inadequate access to healthy food:
- The risk of obesity and chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, increases, straining health-care resources
- Children without proper nutrition become sicker, stay sick longer and miss more days of school
- Lower academic performance leads to higher dropout rates and to more adults without the skills necessary to secure well-paying jobs
The story seems to have struck a cord with area readers. As of Monday morning, 25 comments had been posted, many of them expressing frustration at being faced with a problem that has no easy solution.
Wrote one: "Maybe the two writers of this article could open a grocery store in a poor neighborhood. They could then sell healthy food for a loss instead of implying that the major chains are somehow at fault for not doing so. Contrary to what the writers seem to think, grocery stores are not charities. The stores actually have to show a profit to stay in business."