Community garden harvests healthier eating habits
StrikeForce Initiative is a pilot plan that helps disadvantaged communities grow and gain more access and assistance from USDA programs as well as other governmental agencies.
Community gardens across Southwest Georgia are helping children get back to the essentials of Earth and the process of gardening.
North Mitchell Elementary School was awarded a grant through the USDA StrikeForce Initiative to provide a community garden.
North Mitchell Elementary School P.E. teacher Zack Dallas says "we wanted to get involved in this program with StrikeForce to teach the students how the food is actually grown and to talk to them about the importance of healthy foods grown in the ground."
People develop their habits early in life, so by teaching children about gardening and giving them an introduction to healthy foods early on, hopefully, healthier eating habits can be established and maintained.
When the students get to put his/her hands in the soil and get to see that they're growing the garden, they may be more eager to try fruits and vegetables.
In February, each grade level will get a particular plant or vegetable to plant in the school community garden and the process will officially begin.
Shanicie Williams, North Mitchell Elementary School health teacher, thinks that "it's important for the garden to be here because of the new regulations set by the state for the school nutrition program." The children get to apply what they are doing not only to science but every subject being taught.
Once the seeds are set, the students check on the garden weekly, hoping that their seedlings start to grow. The students get to see how each item grows from week to week.
The growing season generally lasts a couple of months and the gardens will be harvested in May. The fruits and vegetables grown are used in the school cafeteria. This garden will allow students to apply their knowledge and observe the outcomes.