The reality of food inequity in America can be observed in many ways, including the location of grocery stores. Grocery stores stocking fresh produce and other nutritious foods are often not in traditionally low-income neighborhoods. This is true in many South- and Westside Chicago neighborhoods leaving members of these communities with few healthy options and little access to fresh produce.
Because of this, we ensure that our garden programs are comprehensive. Lessons begin with the crucial foundations of where food comes from and the science of growing. From there we expand to the basics of growing your very own garden, including how to decide what to plant and knowing why it benefits you.
Students in our school garden and farm programs learn the nutritional benefits of fruits and vegetables they have a hand in growing. They taste new flavors and often develop preferences for what they themselves have grown. They learn why nutrition is important in the first place, all about micro and macronutrients, and how they can make choices that are healthy for their bodies and minds to grow strong. They often take home their harvest, sharing produce with family and neighbors.
Supporting student nutrition is part of why Gardeneers began in the first place and remains foundational for our programming. Healthy eating habits are a crucial building block of overall and enduring health of individuals and communities.