I have long enjoyed gardening. Not only is it a great excuse to spend time outside, it’s therapeutic to nurture the land and watch it grow. In the past year Jamisen has begun helping me in the garden, which makes the process even better. I feel extremely lucky to have the space to teach Jamisen and Lily about the gardening process and healthy eating. Gardening is a fun family activity that we all can share.
Because not every child (or even adult!) has the opportunity to learn about the land and food we eat, I jumped at the opportunity to support Common Threads Farms. A local organization focusing on food literacy, youth empowerment and environmental stewardship, Common Threads brings gardens to schools and community spaces.
Did you know that Bramble Berry supports worthy non-profits every year? I’m thrilled that Bramble Berry has been able to support this healthy program by helping to bring a garden to Sunnyland Elementary school, located just blocks away from the Bramble Berry warehouse. Recently I got the chance to visit the garden alongside the director of Common Threads, Laura. It was wonderful to watch the kids dig in the dirt and cater to the plants!
In addition to getting children off the couch, gardening teaches children where fruits and vegetables come from. When kids know the source of produce, they may become more attracted to eating them. Recently, Washington has become one of four states allowing school grown produce to be served through district nutrition services meal programs.
Chives were one of the many variety of plants in the mini gardens. The children had a lot of fun taking turns smelling the chives and touching the leaves. They were so sweet as they tried to eat the chives and get a taste for what they were growing.
Below, Laura and I visit the newly planted greens. The large garden area gives the students a chance to dig deeper into the land, and plant larger and sturdier shrubs, herbs and plants. According to a recent study by the Journal of Pediatrics, time spent outdoors was positively associated with cardiorespiratory fitness. It was a lot of fun to watch the kids spend time outside while gardening.
In addition to school gardens, Common Threads Farms offers after school programs and summer programs designed to interest children in healthy eating. One of the fun summer programs includes Camp Pizza, a four day curriculum which covers everything from dough to cheese, to garden-made sauce and toppings! Jamisen did their farm camp last year and loved it! Alongside chives, mint plants were also a big hit! After smelling the leaves, the students couldn’t help but smell their now minty hands.
The efforts to curb growing child waistlines may be paying off. In a recent study published in the Journal of Pediatrics, the occurrence of abdominal obesity among children has leveled in recent years. It’s great to see communities coming together to address the issue of childhood obesity.
It was so nice to take a break from the office, and spend time in the garden with Sunnyland Elementary. I hope the students find the gardens to be fun and educational, and enjoy the veggies and herbs they help produce.