Last week, a new beginning took place on the White House lawn – under the direction of First Lady Michelle Obama, the first White House garden since World War II was planned. Here is a link to the garden layout from the White House blog.
To up the cool factor even more, Mrs. Obama helped to break ground alongside kids from the Washington Bancroft Elementary School. Wait, there’s more – the plans for the harvest are to use it for the needs of the White House family and guests, but also to provide some of the fresh produce to a local soup kitchen.
One of the reasons Mrs. Obama gives for her interest in having a White House garden is simply because she is a mom, interested in nutrition for her kids. She believes in the importance of fresh produce, and has found that her
girls are more likely to eat fresh vegetables when they taste good – such as when they come straight from the garden.
Gardening with children can be a powerful nutrition lesson. Kids get to learn where food comes from, how to grow it properly, and best of all – kids tend to eat (or at least try) what they grow! The National Gardening Association,
which provides support to community and school gardening programs, identified other great benefits kids gain from gardening. They surveyed garden program leaders, and found that the leaders saw the kids improve in the following characteristics (click here to visit the full report):
94% environmental attitudes
90% social skills
86% attitude towards school
84% community spirit
81% leadership skills
69% nutritional attitudes
67% scholastic achievement
63% motor skills
Starting a garden with a child does not have to be a huge project, or cost a lot of money. There are plenty of resources out there - on the internet, your local library, or your local community extension program. The point is to get out there, start digging in the dirt, and see what you can grow together!