Helping around the garden is good for kids

Published 7:00 am Friday, March 2, 2018

As a child, everyone in my family had a garden. Whether I was shelling peas for my grandmother, picking apples with my great grandfather, or helping my mother arrange her flower bed, I was always working with plants.

Working in my family’s garden helped me develop a sense of responsibility as a child. I saw first-hand the care and devotion required to grow a crop – from preparing the soil for planting, pulling weeds and picking insects off of leaves and spending hours shucking corn and shelling peas. The work wasn’t easy, but it gave me a chance to be around the people I loved and it gave me a level of respect for food that I otherwise wouldn’t have.

Thursday, students at Heritage Christian Academy in Picayune planted their very own school garden.

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Each grade worked together to lay tarps, spread soil and plant sprouts.

The level of excitement on those students’ faces was astounding.

What many would consider a chore, these students saw as a fun activity. They sang songs, did cartwheels and got absolutely covered in mud. Planting their garden gave them a chance to get outside, play in the dirt, and spend time with each other under the sun.

As society becomes more and more centered on foods that are fast, cheap and convenient, the level of child obesity continues to skyrocket.

Working in a family or school garden, such as the one at Heritage Christian Academy, will not only give students a sense of community and responsibility, it will also change their perspective about eating healthier foods.

If more schools adopted a gardening program similar to the one at Heritage, the lives of children in Pearl River County could be impacted in a meaningful way.