To Grow or Not?

With the increasing number of children being overweight/obese, the risk for heart diseases, cancer, diabetes and osteoarthritis becomes proportionally high (CDC). This statement may not be surprising if one considers the potential factors that have influenced the children’s lifestyle. Other than the typical telly, children have access to their smartphones and tablets that display over thousands of food commercials. These commercials may primarily be promoting the new fatty breakfast deal or the opening of a crazy burger joint. If this doesn’t seem convincing, the fact that high calorie snacks are cheaper than the average bag of vegetables or salads, reveal that children are being heavily influenced to live a poor lifestyle. But this can be prevented if schools and communities take action at an early state.

Most children devote their entirety of their daily lives at schools where their habits and lifestyles are molded. By embedding gardens at schools, children can develop a better understanding on how to make better food choices. Not only will they be able to learn how to harvest their own fruits, vegetables and flowers, they will be able to experience what their hard work will taste like. Being able to teach children at a young age where and how their food is produced may train them to gain healthy habits. Some may even develop a liking towards the most loathed vegetables such as Brussel sprouts and spinach. For schools that are in urban areas, this would be a good opportunity to increase the number of “green roofs”.

Green roofs will help reduce more than 30% of carbon dioxide produced when using air condition. Urban schools can also take advantage of proving gardening classes to lower their cooling bills. Ultimately, school gardens will improve the health of children; help the environment while creating a better image for the school.
Rooftop at Greenwhich Village School
Though the idea may seem compelling to a vast majority, there is always a con to a pro.

Some may argue that school gardens may be a waste of time. The educational priorities of one school may differ from another. Learning how to garden and tend plants may take away precious time that could be used to study. The creation of green roofs is also expensive. Schools with low budgets may not be able to afford to keep the program for a long period of time. There may also be a concern in terms of attendance. It may not be easy to introduce gardening and the art of patience to a generation of children whose attention span lasts only about 1-10 seconds (the length of a snapchat photo).

Despite this controversy, Green Empowerment has taken action to teach children of rural communities the importance of good hygiene, sanitation and environmental conservation.  Click on the icon to learn more about their journey! 

This comes to show that there is hope to teach and guide the younger generation to develop a compassion for their environment and health.  

What are your thoughts? Should school gardens be reinforced or not?