Students Dig Into Healthy Nutrition With School Gardens

MIAMI (CBS4) – The students at Charles Hadley Elementary School in Northwest Miami-Dade are seeing the fruits of their labor.

Four years ago, with the help of Miami-Dade County Public Schools and the Health Foundation, The Education Fund began planting edible gardens at several schools around the county. In July of 2007 five schools were selected to pilot the “Plant a Thousand Gardens Collaborative Nutrition Initiative”. The goal was to teach second grade students healthy nutrition, literacy, math, science, reading and other subjects through hands-on collaborative learning.

Now the program has grown to 25 schools in Miami-Dade and impacts more than 2,300 students; a majority of them are from low income homes where exposure to fresh produce is limited.

“The school gardens provide a learning lab not only with good nutrition but they also get their hands dirty literally, they see how they grow so when they go to the cafeteria they make the right choices for lunch they make the healthy choice,” said Miami-Dade Public Schools Nutritionist Penny Parham as she sat with CBS4’s Marybel Rodriguez in the vegetable garden at Charles Hadley.

The educational value from the edible gardens is priceless. Not only are the students learning how to eat healthy but they are also teaching their parents to do the same. According to the Education Fund their yearly reports show that 80 percent of parents say their children are eating healthier and they are cooking healthier because of the gardens.

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