Gardens Help Grow Wellness in Eastside San Antonio



Stephen Lucke learned a shocking fact as a college student in San Antonio, Texas (63% Latino): Life’s most serious health issues can be prevented by improved access to healthy foods. He was so surprised that he immediately helped start fruit and vegetable gardens on his campus at the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW). But he wanted to do even more to grow access to fresh produce across town. How Gardens Can Boost Food Access Stephen Lucke had aspirations of going to medical school before studying biochemistry at UIW. When he took a nutrition class, he realized he could promote healthy food as the first line of defense against getting sick in the first place. “I just really became educated about the obesity epidemic in the United States,” Lucke said. “You know ...

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Old Storage Room Gets Revamped Into A Garden in an Oklahoma High School



Gardens in schools are now becoming commonplace, as more and more schools see the benefits that gardens bring. Having a garden on campus not only opens up students learning to plant healthy foods but also encourages students to learn how to use science and math in gardens and may be used towards creating healthy eating environments in some cases. Rush Springs High School is now taking advantage of what used to be a storage room and transforming into an Aeroponic Tower Garden space. The class that goes with the garden is an entrepreneurial S.T.E.M class, teaching students not only how to grow healthy foods, but also allowing students to use food grown as a fundraiser to pay for more class projects, S.T.E.M teacher Larry Lance explained to local ABC News. Lance first came up ...

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School Nurse Starts School Garden To Encourage Healthy Eating



Students are encouraged to eat healthy lunches, but what if there was a program to increase efforts of consumption of fruits and vegetables while in school? Now students at Meramec Elementary are enjoying more fruits and vegetables in their diets at school. The school was also selected as a 2016 Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) School Foodservice Role Model for its efforts to increase fruits and vegetable consumption for their students and staff. How? Meramec's school Nurse, Caren Etling helped started the school's Science Garden in the Spring of 2015, encouraging students to learn about plants, crops, harvesting and healthy eating. Students planted corn, beans, native Missouri plants and a variety of herbs. Etling encouraged teachers to teach students about valuable ...

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Fox Farm Plants Hope For Health in Southern California Elementary School



Within the Pasadena Unified School District (53.6% Latino students), students at Altadena's Franklin Elementary School celebrate their first harvest from their school garden, Fox Farm. According to Pasadena Now, Franklin Elementary School is considered one of the most underserved elementary schools in the District (72% Latino), where more than 40% are English learners, more than 80% of the students participate in free and reduce price lunch and are living in what is considered a "food desert", where healthy food is distant and junk food is plentiful. Unfortunately, studies show, Latino students often live in food deserts, see more junk food ads than their peers, and have less access to salad and fruit bars in their schools. However, now Franklin Elementary is enjoying the ...

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Colorado School’s Apple Orchard Infuses Fresh Fruit into School Cafeterias, Farmer’s Markets



Montezuma County (12.2 % Latino) was once well known for its blooming apple orchards. Back in 1904, three Gold Medals were awarded to the county at the St. Louis World’s Fair. But for years, these fresh apples weren’t always available to kids at local schools. Now, with the help of farm-to-school activists like Sarah Syverson and other groups, Cortez Middle School is growing a garden and an entire apple orchard to bring new fresh foods to local school cafeterias and to the school’s farmers market. EMERGENCE Awareness: Sarah Syverson, director of the Montezuma School to Farm Project (MSTFP) in Montezuma County, Colo., was proud of the school garden at Cortez Middle School (CMS). Established in 2013 the schools garden was a place where education and healthy food access went ...

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Growing Healthier Schools



UrbiCulture Community Farms are making school lunches look a little more like a garden with their new school garden programs. Teachers plant alongside students, helping them understand what it takes to grow food, and be more open to eating a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Students harvest the fresh produce from the 6,500 square-foot garden to bring to the cafeteria for all students to try and enjoy. EMERGENCE Awareness: Columbian Elementary School teacher Brenna Larson Brooks enjoyed gardening at home in Denver. She wanted to use her backyard for a food garden, so she reached out to UrbiCulture Community Farms, a Denver nonprofit that turns donated land into gardens that grow food for the community. UrbiCulture helped Brooks design and build her home garden and that gave ...

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Learning Gardens Map Out Healthy Options



In Florida, access to healthy food may be greater than 10 miles for some families. Many at-risk kids do not get the opportunity to learn about where fresh food comes from or how it is grown. Hoping to help to fight hunger and obesity through educating kids about the value of eating fruits and vegetables, local UnitedHealthcare employee volunteers teamed up with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL football team to build and donate learning gardens to local Florida schools. EMERGENCE Awareness/Learn: The population of Tampa, Fla., (23.1%) and its county seat, Hillsborough County, Fla., (26% Latino) have had an influx of Latino families moving to the area since 2013, according to Tampa General Hospital’s 2013 Community Health Needs Assessment. Unfortunately, 66.1% of Latino adults are ...

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El Jardin, La Cocina y El Mercado: Healthy Living Takes Root at Bowie High School



El Paso, Texas has come a long way since ranked as the third-fattest U.S. city in 2012. A renewed focus on eating healthy and moving more is paying off; obesity rates in the area are dropping. In addition to local health departments and community organizations, schools are playing a big role in these changes by addressing health, culture and community all at once. At Bowie High School, students are getting exposed not only to gardening, nutrition education and business skills, they are reconnecting with cultural traditions that favor fresh and flavorful over processed and sugary. EMERGENCE Awareness/Learn: The city of El Paso, Texas, shares its border with Mexico. This creates an interesting cultural dynamic where some students cross the border daily from Mexico to go to Bowie ...

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Veggie Gardens Are Grounds for Teaching Nutrition to Elementary Students



Hollin Meadows Elementary School, part of the 23% Latino Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia, has dedicated leaders and parents who value student health. A few years ago, they started a vegetable garden. Since then, thanks to the leadership of parent Shawn Akard, the school has: developed more gardens; brought in an “outdoor education coordinator” to oversee the gardens and programming; and helped students learn to grow and value new healthy produce. EMERGENCE Awareness: Shawn Akard, a PTA member and mother of a student at Hollin Meadows Elementary School in Alxandria, Va., appreciated the healthy changes going on in her district, Fairfax County Public Schools. She wanted to get involved. Learn: Around 2006, she talked with other parents to get ideas on how to get kids ...

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School Garden Provides Healthy Snacks and Lessons for Students in Austin, TX



Austin Independent School District (AISD) has worked hard to help their student population eat better by providing healthy school meals and snacks. They continue to seek news way to teach students more about where food comes from and introduce them to other healthy foods. One high-school teacher took a small garden and created a big change to teach students about growing healthy produce. The district hopes this serves as inspiration to others nationwide, showing that by working together you can grow an edible, sustainable garden that supports healthy eating habits for students and reduces risk of childhood obesity. EMERGENCE Awareness: Food service leaders at Austin Independent School District (AISD), which is about 60% Hispanic, revised its school menus to incorporate more local, fresh ...

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