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The mission of the Nutrition and Gardening program is to provide assistance to programs that address nutrition for the students and families of the Moving Kids Forward Foundation, Inc., target population.

 

– Importance of Nutrition

  • Nutrition is essential for physical development, cognitive and behavioral development
  • Those living in more impoverished neighborhoods are more likely to consume lower quality food
  • Children with low protein and iron intakes have more behavior issues and lower academic performance than their peers

– Importance of Garden

  • Students are more likely to eat vegetables they have grown themselves and they are more likely to have healthier eating habits
  • Gardens encourage children to develop an attachment with the natural world
  • Jean Piaget’s philosophy that children of this age group learn through hands on experiences
  • These programs develop foundational skills in science and math

 

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  • Research on Nutrition and Gardening

    The preparation gap refers to the disparity in academic knowledge between first-time students from disadvantaged households and wealthier households. As a result, children from less privileged backgrounds are more likely to enter kindergarten with fewer academic skills than their peers (Mead, 2004). Coinciding with the preparation gap is a nutritional gap. Those living in more impoverished neighborhoods are more likely to consume lower quality food (Olsen & Fuller, 2012). Children with low protein and iron intakes have more behavior issues and lower academic performance than their peers (Michigan Department of Community Health, [MDCH], 2013). “To optimize their academic potential, children need essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fat from their diet,” (Michigan Department of Community Health, MDCH, 2013). Gardening programs augment early learning in a number of different ways. In terms of nutrition, students are more likely to eat vegetables they have grown themselves and they are more likely to have healthier eating habits (Morris & Zindenberg-Cherr, 2002). Lineberger and Zajicek 2000, found that gardening programs increased students’ preference for vegetables as a snack. Gardening programs encourage children to develop an attachment with the natural world (Louv, 2005). These programs develop foundational skills in science and math (Klemmer, Waliczek & Sajicek, 2005). Smith and Mostenbocker 2005, and Klemmer Waliczek and Zaijeck 2005, found that students in school gardening programs showed an increase in scientific achievement compared to peer control groups.