Move over reading, writing, and ’rithmetic. In-school garden tending, a new trend in education, significantly increases fruit and vegetable consumption among students. A new study published by the American Dietetic Association shows that kids whose curriculum includes getting down and dirty in a school garden—planting, weeding, and harvesting—eat more fruits, vegetables, fiber, and vitamins A and C than their peers who receive more traditional nutrition education.
If your child’s school doesn’t yet have a garden-tending program, you can download the Center for Ecoliteracy’s Guide to Starting School Gardens at www.ecoliteracy.org. In the meantime, give your children a garden of their own at home. Grab their attention and foster their devotion by employing a few suggestions from the National Gardening Association: Let children help choose what they plant, make sure to include easy-to-grow plants, and don’t sweat the crooked rows … remember, you’re “growing” healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime.