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Elementary school uses garden to teach kids importance of a healthy meal

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Monday, Sept. 29, 2014

By Analise Ortiz


ANALISE ORTIZ/CRONKITE NEWS: It’s the most important meal of the day:
and some Arizona schools are making progress toward increasing breakfast in the classroom. I went to one elementary school that focuses on both nutrition and natural processes that put food on the table.

As these Maryland Elementary School students are filing into class, they’re also ready to munch. Breakfast in the classroom is one way Arizona schools are combating distractions that come with hungry bellies.

KEVIN CONCANNON/US DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE: Fewer kids come into the nurses station with headaches, stomach aches, being restless in class… better attendence records.

ANALISE ORTIZ/CRONKITE NEWS: But here at Maryland it’s about more than nutrition. Once these students step out of the classroom and into the garden they learn more about where their food comes from and how it’s produced. This school garden is where students get to see hands-on all they’ve learned about the plant cycle.

CATHY KIM/VOLUNTEER GARDEN COORDINATOR: There are about over 200 children who get to garden every other week, and this puts the whole plant lifecycle and the insect lifecycle in front of these kids for the whole year.

ANALISE ORTIZ/CRONKITE NEWS: In fact, Maryland just received a grant from the Western Grower’s Foundation to help them improve their garden. And eventually the kids get to eat the fresh veggies they grow in the school yard.

ALLISON JECH/FIRST GRADE TEACHER: It’s a really cool thing for them to see where the food comes from and experience it and eat it, and they have a part in every single process, so that’s the best part.

ANALISE ORTIZ/CRONKITE NEWS: Teaching them the importance of a healthy meal and to appreciate the process that creates it. Representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture told me they were impressed with Arizona’s strides toward healthier meals in public schools