“Whether a food is homegrown makes a difference,” according to Debra Haire-Joshu, director of Saint Louis University’s (SLU) Obesity Prevention Center. “Garden produce creates what we call a “positive food environment.”
In fact, Haire-Joshu’s SLU study found preschoolers were more than twice as likely to get at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily than their non-gardening peers.
Good nutrition is only one of the many benefits of gardening as a family. Gardening offers many lessons.
There’s the science of working with plants, soil and water and seeing firsthand how the seasons, weather, pests and beneficial insects play a role in plant development.
Kids learn responsibility by caring for living plants, and patience waiting for seeds, flowers, and produce to develop.
A successful garden creates confidence, while unsatisfactory results can provide a lesson in coping with disappointment and then problem-solving to search for better gardening techniques.
Getting the family into the garden also provides a healthy dose of exercise by working the major muscle groups. For example, 30 minutes of raking leaves typically burns 162 calories, weeding or mowing with a power mower burns 182 calories, turning a compost pile burns 250 calories, and double-digging your garden soil burns 344 calories.
If you want to expend less energy – saving it for other activities – and use much less water, space and nutrients, try Tower Gardening!
Stephen Ritz – Global Teacher Prize Top 10 Finalist – knows ALL about this: