Fall curriculum encourages healthy eating

September 5, 2017 by  

Volunteers and students gathered at a local elementary school last week, and laid the ground work for a community garden as part of the lessons planned for the fall semester.

Included in a provincial program that began in 2014 aimed at reducing obesity rates in school aged children, a total of seven gardens will be planted. The Ontario government allotted the region of Waterloo $1.125m to fund programing designed to increase children’s health.

The seven gardens, spread across Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo, make up the Healthy Kids Community Challenge. The program will allow over 2,700 children to experience gardening fruits and vegetables.

Volunteers and students laid the groundwork for the gardens at Empire Public School in Waterloo last week, by planting flowers to attract healthy bug life, and laying soil to create raised beds for the vegetables and fruits.

Students and their families will be asked to provide input on what eventually gets planted, with the use of a take-home printed newsletter or brochure often coming in handy in situations like this.

The new curriculum was designed to teach children about healthy living, with in-class programming that may include a handout with an engaging graphic design. Students will also have hands-on experience as they spend time in the garden caring for the fruits and vegetables.

The goal of the program is to allow children to learn where their food comes from, and get them excited to choose healthy fruits and vegetables over processed foods.

Volunteers came from various local groups, including the horticultural society, Grand River Food Forestry, Rare Charitable Research Reserve, Seeds of Diversity and Steckle Heritage Farm. The schools hope that with the help of local groups in the community, the gardens can be maintained even after the provincial funding ends in 2018.