Gardening Programs Get Kids to Eat Their Veggies

The Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) recommends school-based gardening interventions in combination with nutrition education to increase vegetable consumption among children. Gardening interventions provide children with hands-on experience planting, growing, and harvesting fruits and vegetables in an effort to increase their willingness to consume both. The recommendation is based on results from the systematic review cited below, additional information abstracted from a subset of included studies, and expert input from subject matter experts and the CPSTF:

Savoie-Roskos MR, Wengreen H, Durward C. Increasing fruit and vegetable intake among children and youth through gardening-based interventions: a systematic review. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 2017;11(2);240-50.

Why is this important?

  • Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help reduce the risk of many leading causes of illness and death, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and obesity (CDC, 2017)
  • Most people in the United States, including children and adolescents, do not eat enough fruits and vegetables (CDC, 2017; CDC, 2013)
  • Gardening interventions have been shown to increase children’s preferences for, and willingness to try, new fruits and vegetables (Robinson-O’Brien et al, 2009).

Share this information with others!

Nutrition: Gardening Interventions to Increase Vegetable Consumption Among Children— read the summary of evidence.

Gardening Interventions to Increase Vegetable Consumption Among Children — use this one-pager as a quick reference

Every Kid Healthy Week at Audubon Park Elementary

To celebrate Action for Healthy Kids’ Every Kid Healthy Week, Audubon Park Elementary recently held “Healthy Habits.”  During PE class, Kindergarten through 3rd grade students rotated through three stations.  At the yoga station, students practiced ways to keep their bodies and minds healthy. At the mindful eating station, they learned about the importance of being aware of what they consume to keep them healthy. At the gardening station, students were given a tour of Audubon Park Elementary’s garden and learned about the benefits of eating natural foods and composting.


November Gardening and In Season Produce

Knowing what fresh produce is in season when you head to the store can not only save you money, but also means that you’ll be enjoying fruits and veggies at their peak. Click here for seasonal recipes to try with these ingredients!

In season november

Looking to plant an edible garden or herb garden over the Thanksgiving break?  UF IFAS provides these infographics to help you with your garden.


Summer Garden Tips

summer-gardeningWith temperatures peaking within the high 90s, summer is defiantly in full swing!  Only specific plants in your garden can survive this intense heat and current rain showers. Here are some tips from Our Whole Community to keep your garden thriving in Central Florida this summer.




Here are a few strategies for your summer garden:


1. Grow heat tolerant vegetables:

You can still continue to grow black-eyed peas, collards, rattlesnake pole beans, speckled lima beans, New Zealand spinach, okra, sweet potato, malabar spinach, and yard-long beans.


2. Grow cover crops:

Plant cowpeas, sorghum, millet, lab lab bean and velvet bean. Sunn hemp is an excellent choice because it reduces nematodes too! These crops are fun and easy while they also improve the soil.


3. Solarize the soil:

Soil solarization is a process where you use the energy from the sun to kill soil pests.

To solarize:

  • Clear all vegetation from the garden.
  • Loosen the soil and cover for 6 weeks with clear plastic.
  • To prevent the plastic from blowing away, place bricks or other weights on the corners.
  • Plastic should be removed at the beginning of September to prepare for fall planting.


4. Mulch over the garden:

Use a 3-6″ layer of straw or wood chip mulch to help prevent weeds from growing and keep the soil from drying out. In addition, it will add organic matter to the soil and keep it living healthy!


Do you have tips of your own?  Leave them in the comment section below, post them on our Facebook or tweet them to us at@HealthyKids2Day.


Happy Gardening!