Getting community schools involved is a great way for students to learn about themselves and the world around them. These student programs provide rewarding experiences and practical life-lessons that go well beyond expectations.
School garden programs proactively introduce students to the benefits of healthy living in a hands-on way. By seeing first-hand where their fruits and vegetables come from, it removes the mystique of what it takes to grow and how it’s done. A sense of pride comes from tending the garden, along with a health-conscious attitude about what they eat and a willingness to try new dishes.
School garden programs offer a great way to apply lessons learned in the classroom from an array of course subjects, in the field. The garden is a living laboratory of information that can connect students to their curriculum in meaningful ways by incorporating science, mathematics, the arts, history, geography, teamwork, even exercise. And this hands-on learning is now associated with real-world application and directly involves the students.
Community and Social Development
Student gardening programs promote strong communal and social bonds that help develop positive relationships with their peers. Students are given the responsibility to care for and grow gardens requiring teamwork and cooperation with fellow students, teachers and community volunteers. This socialization teaches an appreciation for diversity and an understanding of how to interact with others. The result of this cooperation, a bountiful garden, builds self-esteem and a sense of achievement.
Seeing the seeds they planted, nurtured and tended, finally sprout, is a magical moment for gardeners of any age—a small seed has transformed into something that can sustain them. Students realize they are stewards of the land, and they must care for it. Gardening allows them to connect with nature. And studies have shown those who were taught these lessons early, will carry those lessons into adulthood.
The proven impact of educating our youth on the importance of healthy eating through hands-on gardening education is a well-documented and researched field. Increased energy levels, attention spans and brain health, and weight control are strongly correlated to a nutritional diet that incorporates fruit and vegetables. And teaching our children to incorporate these habits at an early age by giving them the tools, resources and knowledge to grow their own food is an empowering tool to allow them to take control of their lives. When we grow gardens, we grow as people. Get growing.