Spring has sprung, leaves are budding, rabbits are hopping, and the sun is shining. Did you know your can increase vegetable consumption; environmental awareness; achieve better grades; improve life skills and wellness just by playing in the dirt?
Increase Vegetable Consumption
- Children who garden eat more vegetables. Not only do they eat more vegetables but they prefer them and they want to taste new ones![i]
- Children who garden have a better understanding of nutrition.[ii]
Love Mother Earth
Better Grades in School
- Children who garden have better achievement scores in school.[vi]
Improved Life Skills
- Children who garden work better in groups and have a better self-understanding.[vii]
- Children who garden have a higher self-esteem, sense of ownership and responsibility.[viii]
- Children who garden eat better as adults and decrease their risk of chronic disease.[ix]
- Children who garden are happier. They work and play in dirt that contains a beneficial bacterium in soil which makes us happier by decreasing anxiety.[x]
- Children who garden relieve stress.[xi]
Children who garden have MORE!
[i] Ratcliffe M.M. PhDThe Effects of School Garden Experiences on Middle School-Aged Students’ Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behaviors Associated With Vegetable Consumption. Health Promot Pract January 2011 12: 36-43
[iii] Canaris, Irene. (1995). Growing Foods for Growing Minds: Integrating Gardening and Nutrition Education into the Total Curriculum. Children’s Environments, 12(2): 264-270.
[iv] Gardens are often the most accessible places for children to learn about nature’s beauty, interconnections, power, fragility, and solace.” (Heffernan, M. (1994). The Children’s Garden Project at River Farm. Children’s Environments. 11(3): 221-231.
[v] Lohr, V.I. & Pearson-Mims, C.H. (2005). Children’s Active and Passive Interactions with Plants Influence Their Attitudes and Actions toward Trees and Gardening as Adults. HortTechnology. 15(3): 472-476.
[vi] Klemmer, C.D., Waliczek, T.M. & Zajicek, J.M. (2005). Growing Minds: The Effect of a School Gardening Program on the Science Achievement of Elementary Students. HortTechnology. 15(3): 448-452.
[vii] Robinson, C.W. & Zajicek, J.M. (2005). Growing Minds: The Effects of a One-year School Garden Program on Six Constructs of Life Skills of Elementary School Children. HortTechnology. 15(3): 453-457.
[viii] Alexander, J. & D. Hendren, (1998). Bexar County Master Gardener Classroom Garden Research Project: Final Report. San Antonio, Texas.
[ix] Heimendinger, J. & M. Van Duyn. (1995). Dietary behavior change: the challenge of recasting the role of fruit and vegetables in the American diet. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 61:1397S-1401.
[x] Lowry C.A., et al. (2011). Identification of an immune-responsive mesolimbocortical serotonergic system: potential role in regulation of emotional behavior. Neuroscience 146.2: 756–772.
[xi] Van Den Berg, Agnes and Custers, Mariëtte H.G. (2011). Gardening Promotes Neuroendocrine and Affective Restoration from Stress. Journal of Health Psychology 16.1: 3-11.