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Teaching Gardens

posted Apr 15, 2013, 2:02 PM by Julio Zaldivar   [ updated Apr 15, 2013, 2:02 PM ]
by Kathlyn Mead
E.V.P., ORGANIZATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS & C.O.O. 
Apr 09, 2013
On March 26, I joined our partners at the American Heart Association (AHA) to celebrate the success of Teaching Gardens making health happen in Long Beach Unified School District.  AHA Teaching Gardens are flourishing in Long Beach schools, teaching young students how to plant seeds, nurture growing plants, harvest the food and, ultimately, understand the value of the role that communities play in creating opportunities for healthy eating choices.
  
To celebrate the groundbreaking of this new garden at Garfield Elementary School, students, faculty, and parents joined together for a Plant Day and the chance to get their hands dirty. Superintendent of schools, Chris Steinhauser, came out to join the fun and commend the principal, teachers, and children for their commitment to growing, harvesting and healthy eating.  He vocalized support to grow Teaching Gardens in every school in his district, the third largest in California!
 
Throughout the morning, students built planters, planted seedlings and watered the plants. Teaching Garden staff members discussed with students what dishes they could help their parents make with the very fruits and vegetables they were growing.  It was truly wonderful to see all of the kids with their sleeves rolled up making health happen in their school.
 
 
And the highlight of the day for these kids? Placing worms into the soil to help provide fertilization and aeration to grow healthy plants. While it made some a bit squeamish, it was a fun, engaging way to get kids involved in the entire gardening process.
 
 
 
The truth is, exposing kids to gardening does more than provide some fun. It gives them the opportunity to learn about healthy foods and healthy eating. By building gardens with fresh fruits and vegetables, kids are in turn building healthier communities in Long Beach.
 
When The California Endowment initially partnered with the American Heart Association, we envisioned a model for school gardens that could be replicated across California and the nation. After the Teaching Gardens program was met with success in South Los Angeles, we are delighted to see it grow into the Long Beach community helping more kids live stronger and healthier lives.  
 
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