I love the kitchen gardens in schools programmes that are popping up all over the place. What a great way to get kids into good food habits. In New Zealand we have an organistion called garden to table, which is the local chapter of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation. These organisations aim to provide kids with the opportunity to get their hands dirty and learn about growing, harvesting, and cooking fresh food.
The SAKGF shared these very good pointers on kids and food:
- Lifelong eating habits are developed early.
- The best way to encourage children to choose food that is healthy is to engage them in fun, hands-on experiences in growing, harvesting, preparing and sharing fresh, delicious food from the earliest possible age.
- Children are more likely to experiment with foods they have grown or prepared themselves.
- Children need positive models in their lives to reinforce that eating with others is a joyful activity, and one that they can enjoy as long as they live.
- Many young children do not receive such positive experiences at home, and therefore schools should consider including rich and interdisciplinary programs that will fill this gap, as well as giving practical skills that will enable young people to take more responsibility for their own physical wellbeing.
- No one embraces change in their behaviour if they think it will be unpleasant, uncomfortable or too difficult. Cautionary messages that food is ‘good-for-you’ or ‘bad-for-you’ do not resonate with young people.
- The causes of obesity are complex and there is not one single solution, but children who are encouraged to take a broad and active interest in food and the table from a very young age are more likely to maintain a positive attitude to food throughout their lifetimes.
What happens at your kid’s school? Does it have a garden programme of some sort?