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If you have a garden and a library,
you have everything you need ~Cicero


ACTIVITY: Gardening indoors

LIFE SKILLS: Nutrition, educational success, community service, addressing hunger

While there are many reasons to share a garden with your children, encouraging learning success, fighting childhood obesity and teaching the importance of addressing hunger in our local communities are important life-skills that can be learned from engaging with this activity.

Fighting Against Childhood Obesity and Encouraging Educational Success

Gardening encourages better eating habits. It is hard to grow a bean from seed to harvest without naturally desiring a taste! First Lady Michelle Obama champions the war on childhood obesity and promotes community gardening on the very lawn of the White House. This is exciting news for teachers because we also see the dangerous effects of obesity on the learning process:

The National Institutes of Health-supported study published in Pediatrics
indicates that kids with metabolic syndrome (MetS) had “significantly
lower arithmetic, spelling, attention and mental flexibility and a trend for lower over all intelligence
.' (Hall, 2012)

There can be no learning without proper nutrition in place to feed the brain the nutrients it needs to work.

By nourishing the brain with healthy food and water, you will optimize
the internal environment, enabling students to truly engage in
the classroom environment and achieve their potential.

~Philippa Norman MD, MPH
Healthy Brain For Life, 2013

Learning is hard work and it takes fuel!

Addressing Hunger in Local Communities

As of April 2013, half of the residents of New York City live at or below poverty level (Rivlin-Nadler). Unfortunately, the news is even more grim for residents in large cities across the country. It is getting harder to purchase groceries (Badger, 2013). Hunger is a pervasive problem in the world. Understanding basic gardening principles is essential in the fight against hunger. Many organizations across the country encourage gardening to fight hunger by including designated rows to give to the hungry. What a phenomenal way to engage the spirit of service in children by teaching them to support the people in their own communities in a tangible manner. I am pleased to offer these ideas for teaching your children "how to fish" so they can learn about making healthy eating choices. I am also glad the writing is coming to an end so I can get busy developing my own 2-liter green bean, strawberries and Roma Tomato garden!

I get many of my ideas for creating and locating resources from site visitors and colleagues. Join the discussion on Education Coffeehouse: Engage, Encourage and Educate Page on Facebook.

Learning should be challenging but not frustrating. Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions you may have. It is truly a pleasure to serve.


Professor Marsha Burson Bass, ABD


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