Growing health and wellbeing through food
The vegetable garden season has begun. Whether you have a garden in your yard, on a porch or verandah, or you are a member of the local community garden, the benefits of growing food for children and adults are abundant.
While their young children planted their own seeds in small pots, Mothers from the Community Action Program for Children (CAPC) recently participated in a container garden pilot project delivered by Healthy Kids Community Challenge Collingwood in partnership with the Growing Connection.
Participating mothers attended a workshop highlighting the importance of healthy eating and prepared individual container gardens with soil and plants to be taken home for the growing season.
The Community Action Program for Children has a strong focus on the importance of nutrition for the families they provide service to. This is done with guidance from a Registered Dietitian as well as with the on-site support of specially trained community members who work as “food workers” in the programs. Healthy snacks that always include fruits and vegetables are provided to participants at every program.
Gardening has also been actively incorporated into the program. “There is strong evidence of benefits of gardening and food growing for physical and mental health and wellbeing” said Lauren Jeffrey, CAPC Site Coordinator.
“While not everyone has access to a traditional gardening space, or the time to work it, we have been able to adapt low-cost and easy-to-use innovations allowing these young families to enjoy health & taste on their doorstep,” said Robert Patterson, of The Growing Connection. Robert led the workshop and helped the mothers prepare their Caja garden containers.
Theme 3 of the Healthy Kids Community Challenge aims to encourage kids and families to make vegetables and fruit a part of every meal and snack.
“Kids who are able to help grow and prepare their own food are more likely to taste and eat these foods”, said Jennifer Parker, Healthy Kids Community Challenge Local Project Manager.
Over the next several months Healthy Kids Community Challenge Collingwood will introduce new initiatives, programs and environmental supports, encouraging kids to ‘Choose to Boost Veggies and Fruit’.
For more information on Healthy Kids Community Challenge Collingwood visit, www.collingwood.ca/healthykids.