Organization wants American students to take up gardening

Posted Feb 10, 2010 by Antonio Pasolini
The Green Education Foundation, based in East Walpole, MA, wants children across the country to tap the environmental and health benefits of gardening.
Getting the garden ready for planting
Getting the garden ready for planting
Bob Ewing
The non-profit organization that provides environmental education resources for Pre K-12 classrooms and youth groups nationwide, recently launched the Green Thumb Challenge, a youth gardening initiative designed to motivate schools and youth groups across the country to plant 10,000 indoor and outdoor gardens in the spring and summer of 2010.
Health is also on the project’s agenda. Child obesity has become an epidemic in America as one in three kids is overweight or obese. Related health problems such as diabetes are soaring. For that reason, GEF has partnered with the USDA MyPyramid program to promote messages of health and nutrition with kids in the garden.
Cub Scouts Pack 44 of Walpole, MA, a Green Thumb Challenge pilot, planted their vegetable garden last spring on a local community plot. "It was an effective way to foster team work and responsibility with the added benefit of getting the boys to interact with nature on an ongoing basis” said pack leader Richard DeNoyer.
GEF’s website offers guidance through the process of starting, maintain and sustaining a youth garden of any size. GEF also provides lessons that link gardening and composting to science, math, language arts, creative arts and technology.
"A significant goal of the Green Education Foundation is to promote creative and effective ways for teachers and youth group leaders to incorporate the outdoors into their curricula. Kids planting and maintaining gardens as part of the Green Thumb Challenge is a perfect mechanism for hands-on environmental education," noted GEF’s president Victoria Waters.