Kids growing, enjoying healthy foods

April 27, 2012 3:40:48 PM PDT
It's something even the first lady is talking about, turning young people on to gardening, and then get them to at least try some more vegetables.

The kids may just like them, especially if they've watched their very own plants sprout from seeds, getting their little hands dirty and learning to live green.

It's all an adventure for students from Yates Elementary School. They've come from Humbolt Park to the Edible Garden at the Lincoln Park Zoo. When they leave here they will not only have knowledge of plants and soil, they will also have seeds and tools to create their own gardens back at school.

"The goal of these gardens is to educate kids about where their food comes from, via them planting and harvesting food," said Edible Gardens director Jeanne Nolan.

That's the idea behind a new program called Sowing Millions, Growing Minds, put together by an organic seed company called Seeds of Change. They are donating more than 25 million seeds nationwide to encourage schools to get more kids into gardening and teach them how to improve their diets.

"We have a high rate of diabetes and asthma and even things like ADHD," said Yates School teacher Megan Stytze. "A lot of people speculate that perhaps diet can affect those particular diseases."

The kids planting broccoli and cabbage have their own ideas about why growing a vegetable garden is important.

"The plants are important to life because the plants five us food," said third-grader Juan Jose Perez. "Almost every type of food is made out of plants and vegetables."

"I like carrots, broccoli, cauliflower," said third-grader Daveigh Clavijo. "They are really all good."

The Seeds of Change folks are trying to get even more kids to enjoy eating what they grow. Today the chef is giving them a hands-on lesson on how to cook the vegetables they harvest.

"They can be fun and they are delicious and they can change them up anyway they want," said chef Chris Skolmutch. "So we will show them a few techniques that will make it fun for them."

Maybe one day as much fun as playing in the dirt and trying to figure it all out.

"I would like to learn how you get seeds," Clavijo said. "I know you get them from a plant, but how do you get the plant first if there is no seeds?"

The Seeds of Change group is giving away seeds to the first 1,000 schools in this area to sign up for the program.

The schools will each get a box of one hundred randomly-selected organic vegetable, herb and flower seed packets. You just have to pay shipping and handling, which is about $15.

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