Thursday, September 30, 2010

Children growing their own food leads to healthier eating choices

Organic Fresh Fingers has long made the argument that given the opportunity, children will eat and enjoy healthy school lunches.

Alice Waters and a new study at University of California, Berkeley agrees, but they take it one step further - children that actually participate in growing their own food make healthier eating choices also.

At Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Berkeley, California, students have been growing their own fruits and veggies in the school's garden, what they call an "Edible Schoolyard," for the past five years. From 2006 to 2009, scientists at UC-Berkeley conducted study on the effects growing their own food had on the students.
"Among the key findings of the research, which was commissioned by the Chez Panisse Foundation and is one of the first such studies to evaluate an integrated approach to food education:

• Increased nutritional knowledge among 4th and 7th graders who were fed a steady stream of gardening and cooking curriculum.

• Higher fruit and vegetable consumption among elementary-age students in schools ... including a preference for leafy greens like kale, spinach, and chard.

• Vegetable intake was almost one serving per day greater in the schools with a beefed-up food curriculum, and combined fruit and vegetable consumption increased by 1.5 servings. About 80 percent of this increase came from in-season produce. In comparison, researchers found a nearly quarter-serving drop in produce intake among other students.

• Small increases in produce consumption occurred among middle-schoolers with higher exposure to nutrition education as opposed to a drop in fruit and vegetable intake by about one serving a day among students in the other group. -
The Atlantic, "Berkeley's New School Food Study: A Victory for Alice Waters," by Sarah Henry."
Chef Ann Coopers, who is over school lunch at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, says, "With this study, we can finally prove that what we feed kids and what we teach them about food really does make a difference."

We at Organic Fresh Fingers couldn't agree more.

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