School lunches have become a hot issue in the last few years; celebrity chefs in both
A number of teachers around the world have found great success doing just that. Zenobia Barlow, director of the Center for Ecological Literacy in the
School gardens, or field trips to existing allotments, accomplish many things at once. They show children where meals come from – this farmer, this field, as opposed to a plastic package. They demonstrate that they have the power to create, and that negligence has consequences, that some things cannot be hurried or improved upon.
They create a living laboratory of biology, chemistry and economics; holding a fat worm makes a lesson real to a child in a way that no video can. Gardens also create exercise and entertainment for children who have been sitting behind desks for hours.
Time spent with nature is a vital part of growing up, and one that fewer young people experience as the countryside is built up and they spend more of their time watching television. One recent study suggested that the recent rise of problems like attention-deficit disorder is due to “nature-deficit disorder,” the lack of natural stimulation – climbing trees, jumping over streams -- in children’s lives.
Perhaps most of all, a garden makes the best food around. Nutritionists have shown that vegetables lose vitamins and taste from the moment they are picked, and gardens provide children with healthy food much of the year. Whether you are minding children, teaching, or just parenting, consider making gardening a part of your child’s daily education.