|Reviewers Comments: ||Eating From the Garden is a classroom style curriculum for 4th and 5th grade students. The goal of the program is to help children increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables and to promote healthier food choices. Participants will learn about gardening and engage in physical activity. The program provides information that is research-based. It is designed to be taught in a classroom or a community setting.
This program does require some previous nutrition and gardening knowledge from a SNAP-Ed provider. It is consistent with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines and MyPyramid recommendations. A Pre and Post-Gardening Student Survey are included to measure knowledge and behavioral changes. The entire curriculum spans the course of one-school year and requires time for the plants to grow from seed to fruit or vegetable, however, each of the nutrition lessons could stand alone as an individual topic.
The program includes of a total of thirteen lessons. Each lesson includes knowledge and behavioral objectives, a nutrition activity, a gardening activity, additional optional activities, handouts and a take-home newsletter. The thirteen lessons include
- Food for Growth
- Seeds We Eat
- Fight BAC
- Nutrients for Plants and You
- My Pyramid
- Making Healthy Food Choices
- Fruits and Veggies – More Matters
- What’s on a Label?
- Get Physically Active
- Eat Right. Exercise. Have Fun
- We Need a Garden Plan
- Garden Celebration
Each lesson is appropriate for the target age group of 4th and 5th grade students, although the curriculum could be of interest to older children as well. The thirteen lessons are designed to be taught every other week during the spring and fall and once a month during the winter months. Gardens are planned for both the fall and the spring to correspond to the school schedules. The program timetable takes into consideration growing seasons and a traditional school schedule. This program can be used anywhere in the country however the timing will depend on the climate and growing season for each area. A suggested timetable is included with the program, however, it requires about a four month growing period in the fall. The spring garden only requires about a two month growing season. Each of the lessons is designed to be one-hour in length; however, additional activities are included for longer classes.
Each lesson begins by stating the knowledge and behavioral objectives and includes a review of previous lessons. Lessons also include a nutrition activity to introduce the children to different nutrition topics. The nutrition activity includes several core activities such as introducing fruits and vegetables to the children and learning about the nutrients contained in many different types of fruits and vegetables. Concepts are reviewed before moving on to the gardening activities. The gardening activities include several core activities designed to teach children about gardening techniques and how plants grow.
Optional activities are available if the provider has more time. Additional recipes which incorporate fresh fruits or vegetables are included with the program for the SNAP-Ed provider to provide during the lesson for the children to taste. Recipes include nutrition facts and number of servings ; however, serving size, total cost and cost per serving are not included. Some of the recipes will require extra equipment and preparation time by the SNAP-Ed provider.
Each lesson also includes handouts and newsletters for the children to take home to share with family. The newsletter provides a recipe for the children to make at home with their families; however, nutrition information, total cost and cost per serving are not included. Several of the lessons also include a color handout that can be copied and distributed or enlarged to poster size. The program includes a game “Fruit and Veggie Mania” that allows children to demonstrate their knowledge of fruits and vegetables while playing a fun game.
This program requires the SNAP-Ed provider to purchase many additional supplies and materials that may be costly. Additional supplies and materials that are needed for this program include: assortment of fruits, vegetables and seeds; tasting cups, plates, forks, cooking utensils such as a knife or peeler, cutting board, markers, food models, garden equipment, magnifying glass, plastic bags, rain gauge, stopwatch or clock, potting soil, pots for planting seeds, trays for planting containers, grow light or grow lab, UM Guides: MyPyramid for kids, MyActivity Pyramid and MyActivity Log, photosynthesis poster, cardboard, scissors, paperclips, freezer bags, kitchen equipment, paper towels, thermometer, Creature Peepers or other insect containers, ingredients and equipment to prepare recipes (optional).
Advanced preparation is required for most of the lessons. This curriculum is intended to correspond with a garden that the children help to plant and the SNAP-Ed provider will also need access to an area to plant a garden in the fall and summer.