Here’s a bit of good news. A professor at Kansas State has a nice fat grant to study the impact of gardening on childhood obesity. She believes that when children help to grow their own fruits and vegetables they’re "more interested in eating them," so the project includes after-school programs in which 4th and 5th-graders grow their own fruits, vegetables and flowers. Another benefit, of course, is that gardening itself gets kids outdoors and, according to the article, it "counts as physical activity." (I suppose that means it IS physical activity, or is there some kind of counting system going on that I don’t know about?) Others involved in the program are parents, Master Gardeners and other local volunteers.
Great, but I have a question. The UPI story tells us that not only will school gardens be created but also "high tunnels for gardening during
the winter months". Can anybody explain the high tunnel concept?
In other childhood-obesity news from UPI, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has established a $500 million program to combat it. The foundation’s plan includes giving poor kids access to healthy food and safe play spaces. They’re also funding research into obesity and encouraging
governments to take on the issue. Let’s hope the foundation sees the connection to gardening and works to create a Gen G – for gardener.