Kindergardens for All

Public school gardens are a frontline response to the obesity epidemic. So why aren't there more of them?

In 1995, California state superintendent of education Delaine Easton pledged that each school in California would someday grow a garden. With research showing that children who plant and harvest their own fruits and vegetables are more likely to eat healthy food, gardens are seen as a frontline response to the obesity epidemic. Additionally, kids who are exposed to environment-based education score higher on standardized tests than students who aren't. That's why, in 2006, California allotted $15 million to "starting and sustaining" school garden programs. And where state budget support ends, sometimes community grants and corporations kick in: Kaiser Permanente in Northern California, for example, funds a growing number of school gardens as part of its efforts to encourage physical activity and healthful lifelong nutrition.

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Today, more than a third of California's some 9,000 public schools have a plot of food space.

Want to start a school garden, or find out how it's been done elsewhere? Visit the California School Garden Network or the National Gardening Association's Kids' Program for more information.

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