Elementary Kids Garden Their Way to Healthier Habits
Students at Fern Creek Elementary broke gound on Central Florida's first Teaching Garden. The garden is part of an American Heart Association initiative to give disadvantaged kids better access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
[Fern Creek Elementary students plant their Teaching Garden]
Fern Creek Elementary is a Title One school with 90-percent of its students on free and reduced lunch. An estimated 25-percent of its students are considered homeless. It’s exactly the kind of school the American Heart Association is targeting for its nationwide Teaching Garden program. American Heart Association Youth Market Vice President Linda Perez-Lenard says Fern Creek’s garden will be large enough for every child to enjoy the harvest. It should provide two harvests a year.
“We want it to become sustainable so that those children all are experiencing the teaching garden and the fresh vegetables throughout the school year,” she says.
Perez-Lenard says studies show that kids who plant school gardens have better attitudes about eating fruits and vegetables. Fern Creek’s teaching garden will be the first in Central Florida, however there are currently 11 teaching gardens throughout the state- all benefiting lower income elementary school students.