26 May Growing Up Gardens
Growing Up Gardens is designed to help reduce childhood obesity across Monterey County by exposing school age children to fresh fruits and vegetables. This program partners the League with local schools to install new or reinvigorate old school vegetable gardens on campus. Students learn about healthy eating and are inspired to try new vegetables through the hands-on experience of growing their own food.
It transforms unused parking lots and asphalt slabs into lush, inviting gardens, where students are able to learn in an active, outdoors environment. The school gardens they create improve air quality, increase exposure to the natural world, and encourage environmental stewardship, and positively impact health and eating habits of students and the surrounding community.
These GUG gardens act as catalysts to show students just how versatile, delicious, and FUN healthy food can be, developing positive attitudes toward healthy, fresh food and increasing consumption of these foods. The startling obesity statistics in Monterey County alone demonstrate a strong need for this programming. We have found that school gardens are an excellent tool for experiential learning and nutrition education and that students will eat what they grow. GUG has installed edible gardens at 13 schools throughout Monterey County from Seaside and Salinas to King City and Greenfield, reaching well over 4,000 students annually.
We have also partnered with the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula’s Kid’s Eat Right Program, who addresses the issue of childhood obesity by exposing children to fun physical activities and healthy dietary habits. With Kid’s Eat Right, we will be having health fairs at the schools we install new gardens at, which will include health screenings, fun physical activities, healthy eating lessons, in addition to gardening.
This program would not be possible without generous support from the community. We would like to thank the following companies for the donations and discounts that make the program a success.