Realizing a Holistic Approach to Food through School Gardens and Growing Activities

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Garden-enhanced education in schools is increasingly recognized as a promising strategy for promoting healthier eating and environmental awareness for children. Analysis of the development of school garden initiatives can offer insights into how these benefits may be optimized. Using a mixed-methods approach, our study tracked the progress of 55 primary schools participating in the Food for Life Partnership: a multi-component school food program. The findings showed considerable expansion of food growing facilities, outputs and supporting infrastructure. Participating students, parents and community volunteers helped create new links to food-related activities in the dining hall, the classroom and the home environment. This provided a mandate for lead teaching staff, often working under conditions of social deprivation and poor green space, to create a more holistic approach to food in school life. The effectiveness of these changes connected to the strategic re-development of growing spaces and the conceptually integrated messages on food sustainability. [Authors' abstract]
Mat Jones, Emma Weitkamp, Richard Kimberlee, Debra Salmon and Judy Orme
Children, Youth, and Environments
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