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Garden-enhanced intervention improved BMI and nutrition knowledge of California students

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“The factors that affect rates of childhood obesity are complex. For example, parent feeding practices have been shown to be influential, but that influence has also been shown to change with age. Factors such as access to fruits and vegetables and the availability of safe space for physical exercise have also been associated with a risk for obesity. Because schools can act as a focal point for engaging students, families, educators, administrators, and community members, researchers implemented and evaluated a multicomponent, school-based nutrition intervention in an attempt to improve children’s dietary behaviors and prevent childhood obesity. Their results are published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.”(more)

Some schools trading the blacktop for greentop as an innovative way to teach science

Ed Source – Carolyn Jones

“Some students in California don’t have to take field trips to parks or national forests for environmental education – they just open their classroom door. To supplement their science and environmental curricula, hundreds of schools across the state have busted up their asphalt play yards and replaced them with wood chips, trees, flowers, shrubs and vegetables. The new gardens don’t just add greenery to the schoolyard; they help teachers implement California’s new science standards, which emphasize hands-on learning, and crossover between scientific disciplines.”(more)

Should your school serve local food?

The Guardian – Nicola Slawson

“At a state school in Harrogate, Steve Ashburn is busy serving 950 lunches to hungry children – using ingredients sourced from local suppliers. The menu is impressive. Options include Easingword pork escalopes, stuffed with leek and Wensleydale cheese, followed by Wakefield rhubarb possett for dessert. As a foodie and proud Yorkshire man, Ashburn is a strong advocate for creating seasonal menus using quality ingredients, and putting as much business through local producers as he can. Within weeks of Rossett school hiring him, the former restaurant chef had set about changing how the children ate, by sourcing ingredients for school meals from his former restaurant suppliers.”(more)

Inside the schools with edible playgrounds

The Guardian – Zofia Niemtus

“How can we get children to eat more vegetables? There’s no shortage of advice on the matter, varying from “serve them with unpopular foods” to “act more like French people” or “just give up”. But schools are discovering that getting students to grow their own greens can make a big difference. This hands-on method is so powerful, in fact, that it can even detoxify the dinner table nemesis of generations: the brussel sprout…Edible playgrounds are springing up across the country and address several key areas of concern around children’s health. They teach pupils about nutrition, encourage physical activity, and can help with food poverty.”(more)

How schools in Brazil are teaching kids to eat their vegetables

PRI – Rhitu Chatterjee

“On a hilly slope in São Paulo City, a group of sixth graders is busy at work. They’re armed with seeds, soil and a range of gardening tools. Upside-down soda bottles, filled with water, outline a series of rectangular garden plots. A boy named Felipy Pigato tells me they are preparing the soil for planting…The vegetables they grow are used in school meals. But the real aim of the school garden is not to supply ingredients, he says, but to teach students where food comes from, so they can develop a connection to their food…Just like in the US, highly processed foods like fast food, soda, and high-fructose corn syrup have become all too popular here in Brazil. And obesity rates are rising, even among children. It is a nation-wide problem that has alarmed the government and public health experts in the country.”(more)

School Gardens for Beginners: Advice from Common Ground’s Jill Keating Herbst

Education World – Keith Lambert

“School garden programs are on the rise: certainly a growing trend! Teachers and academic communities across the globe are capitalizing upon the hands-on experience, curricular connections, and natural engagement these projects can inspire in students. However, to the agricultural novice and green thumb alike, the idea of initiating such an endeavor can certainly feel daunting.”(more)