The Edible Schoolyard

Appearing in today's New York Times is an article written by Alice Waters, restaurateur and founder of the Chez Panisse Foundation, which encourages the public to use healthier natural foods to teach, nurture, and empower young people. In this OP-ED piece Alice discusses The Edible Schoolyard her initiative to help stop childhood obesity:

Our program began at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School 10 years ago, with a kitchen classroom and a garden full of fruits, vegetables and herbs. A cafeteria where students, faculty and staff members will eat together every day is under construction, and the Edible Schoolyard has become a model for a district-wide school lunch initiative.

At King School today, 1,000 children are involved in growing, preparing and sharing fresh food. These food-related activities are woven into the entire curriculum. Math classes measure garden beds. Science classes study drainage and soil erosion. History classes learn about pre-Columbian civilizations while grinding corn.

We're not forcing them to eat their vegetables; we're teaching them about the botany and history of those vegetables. We're not scaring them with the health consequences of their eating habits; we're engaging them in interactive education that brings them into a new relationship with food. Nothing less will change their behavior.

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Megan Cornish - February 24, 2006 5:48 PM

This is a wonderful post. The emphasis in encouraging all health changes -- in adults as well as children -- must be on encouragement and education, rather than coersion. Many medical providers are now introducing draconian measures against unhealthful practices instead of rewards for healthy ones. This approach just sparks resistance, as people correctly fight for their rights.

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