A healthier Arkansas begins with healthier children. At Baptist Health, we believe the ongoing effort to plant gardens at schools will play an important role in educating the next generation about a nutritious diet – something we’ve seen evidence of in Conway public elementary schools.
In 2017, Conway Schools was awarded a USDA Farm to School Grant to build gardens at the district’s elementary schools. When Baptist Health heard the grant was enough to fund gardens at all but three schools, we knew we had to help. We provided the supplies needed for the last three school gardens and donated wheelbarrows to all 16 sixteen schools – and those gardens are making an amazing difference in both the children and community of Conway. Read on for the top 4 benefits we’ve seen school gardens provide.
School gardens help kids appreciate where their food comes from.
For most students, all food comes from the grocery store and little thought is given to how or where it was grown. By working in their school garden, children build a connection to their food by learning how it goes from seed to plate.
School gardens familiarize kids with healthy foods.
Children are more likely to reach for healthy fruits and vegetables – and be open to trying new ones – if they are introduced to lots of different types of produce at a young age. They will also be more likely to make healthy food decisions as they grow up.
School gardens provide hands-on educational opportunities.
Hands-on learning opportunities are often the most memorable for children, and a school garden provides plenty of them. From planting seeds to watering plants to preparing healthy recipes with their own produce, children thrive when they’re able to learn through an experience rather than a lecture.
School gardens give kids access to local produce.
At the very least, school gardens give children the experience of eating freshly-picked fruits and vegetables. With more time and community involvement though, these gardens can be used to feed children and families who can’t afford much fresh produce from the grocery store.
When we instill good habits in our children, we’re investing in a healthier future for our entire state – something we’re committed to doing at Baptist Health. Learn more about how you can help your children live happier, healthier lives here.