GARDEN TO TABLE: Growing edible plants, shrubs, and trees for

Health and Nutrition Research continues to document the significant health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables, and yet most children do not eat the recommended daily amount. Growing fruits and vegetables in the school garden improves students’ attitudes toward these healthy foods and motivates reluctant eaters to try them. You can use the garden as a hands-on tool to teach nutrition lessons, including the importance of fruits and vegetables and proper food preparation techniques. 

Specific activity ideas: 

• Compare the importance of nutrients in the health of humans and of plants. • Study the nutritional value of the various crops in your garden. 

• Identify the parts of the plant represented by common fruits and vegetables. 

• Discuss the difference in nutritional value of various plant parts. 

• Study adaptations of plant parts that make them good food sources. 

• Sprout various seeds for eating. 

• Conduct a blindfolded taste test using classroom-grown vegetables and supermarket vegetables. 

• Experiment with food preservation techniques, such as drying, freezing, and canning. 

• Grow a salad garden and give students a chance to sample the harvest with a salad party. 

• Invite a grocery store employee to talk to the class about where their products come from. 

• Visit a local farm.

 • Create brochures with information on daily food intake recommendations.

 • Plan a day’s menu that includes all components of a balanced diet. 

• Keep food journals that highlight how many fruits and vegetables are eaten and describe any new produce tried. 

START A SEED BANK GO TO A LOCAL GROCERY STORE AND ASK THEM TO SAVE ALL SEEDS/SHOOTS/TOPS OF PINEAPPLE, BEETS, or  GINGER ROOT, and TUMERIC ROOT. Rather than throw out old produce that have seeds ask them to place in a recycle seed bank container - like a composting container behind their store for people to use to start their own gardens at schools, in neighbor community gardens or for organizations to stop food shortages.