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Video: CALS partners in effort to help middle-schoolers get fit by growing food

Gardens are a great place to grow healthier lifestyles, and the earlier you plant the seed, the better. That’s the idea behind GardenFit, a program that aims to get middle-school kids off the couch and into the garden, where they’ll get a workout and a new appreciation for fresh food. The idea was developed by Sam Dennis, assistant professor of landscape architecture, Dale Schoeller, professor of nutritional sciences, Alex Adams, associate professor in the department of family medicine, and Nathan Larson, education director at Community Groundworks at Troy Gardens, where the project will be centered. Dennis and Adams described the program in a segment aired recently on WMTV, Madison’s NBC affiliate.

Samuel F. Dennis, Jr., PhD, RLA, ASLA“Once kids get outside into the garden, they begin to see the benefits. When they first see that radishes and carrots come out of the ground, they’re shocked and want to eat it right away,” Dennis told the interview. “Once kids get outside into the garden, they begin to see the benefits. When they first see that radishes and carrots come out of the ground, they’re shocked and want to eat it right away.”

“Something as simple as learning to chop vegetables is exciting to someone who’s never done it. And they’re more likely to eat fresh food that they grow and prepare themselves,” he added.

GardenFit is currently looking for middle-school-aged kids to join the program. The researchers plan to do before-and-after measurements of fitness and vegetable intake.

Here’s wishing them a bumper yield of both.

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