A story in Saturday’s New York Times is mostly discouraging but not at all surprising. Cleverly titled “Told to Eat Its Vegetables, America Orders Fries,” writer Kim Severson tells us that “despite two decades of public health initiatives, stricter government dietary guidelines, record growth of farmers’ markets and the ease of products like salad in a bag, Americans still aren’t eating enough vegetables. ”
As usual, income and education are factors. She writes, “Women, as well as people who are older and more educated and have higher incomes, tend to eat more vegetables, “ according to the pediatrician who worked on the Centers for Disease Control report that part of the article is based on.
The significant and uplifting news was this: “For another study whose results were announced this week, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, spent three years examining the difference between children who participated in the Berkeley Unified School District’s “edible schoolyard” program, in which gardening and cooking are woven into the school day, and children who didn’t. The students who gardened ate one and half servings more of fruits and vegetables a day than those who weren’t in the program. ”
That is very encouraging. We have an Edible Schoolyard in Greensboro, at the Children’s Museum, and I hope they’re able to match those findings. SEEDS in Durham also involves youth in edible gardening, and I know other programs around the state do as well. If we can get these programs integrated into school systems, all the better. Positive results, like in Berkeley, will help fuel the movement.