Results of their 12-week study, looking at 99 children, aged 10 to 13, indicated that those who started their own school garden doubled their fruit and vegetable intake, compared with their previous consumption.
The children grew a wide variety of fruit and vegetables, and were involved in watering, weeding, and harvesting. In the classroom they also made various dishes with their produce.
This type of intervention can make a huge difference to the eating habits of children, both now and in the future. We generally establish our personal food and exercise habits in the first 10 to 15 years of life, and therefore it is extremely important to introduce positive nutritional messages at a young age. It also must be remembered that the ability to choose healthy food is not instinctive, but a skill which we learn from our experiences and our surrounding environment.
What are the benefits of having a school garden?
- Promotes good nutrition.
- Encourages physical activity.
- Promotes co-operation with others.
- They learn how to participate in team activities.
Why not start your own veggie garden at home with your kids? It’s a great way to teach them about nature, and a family activity where everyone can get involved. Research suggests that children who have access to green outdoor spaces play more creatively, and score higher on tests of self-discipline. Studies also show that nature and gardening are one of the best stress relievers.
How does gardening promote the consumption of fruits and vegetables for kids and adults?
- Makes fresh fruit and vegetables readily available.
- Adds in the excitement of eating something healthy because you grew it yourself.
- Creates a greater appreciation and understanding of how food is grown.
- Provides opportunities to prepare and taste new foods.
If you’re interesting starting a garden at school or even at home, or for great tips and gardening activities, check out Aggie Horticulture:
- How to start a school garden
- Gardening at home
Try to make gardening as much fun as possible. Allow your kids to be creative, and don’t worry if they fail to plant in straight lines – the veggies will grow just the same! Maybe they could have their own little patch in the garden. Encourage them to take responsibility by watering and weeding their own area. It’s also a good idea to plant some fast growers, such as lettuce or radish, to keep their interest.
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