Wednesday morning, September 26, Louisiana Health Care Connections presented the Good Food Project a check for $15,000 for the Rapides Parish School Garden Program.
This program can provide a healthy school environment where students have opportunities to gain knowledge about healthy eating and practice positive behaviors.
Students visit the gardens with the GFP staff to learn the sustainable garden practices than include planting fruits and vegetables through hands-on activities. Their garden time is followed by monthly cooking demonstrations using a portable kitchen cart to prepare special fruit-or-vegetables that teaches students about basic kitchen skills. The program encourages physical activity through gardening and promotes healthy eating through the preparation of easy, low-calorie, low-fat recipes that children can make on their own. The goals of the program are to provide students the skills to grow their own food, combat obesity, increase their fresh fruit and vegetable consumption, increase their physical activity, and strengthen their well-being. Transfer of learning occurs when teachers are provided with additional curricula to continue the gardening-nutrition link in the classroom and the garden, further reinforcing better eating habits among their students. The children will install the gardens, plant the seeds and seedling for each growing season, and maintain the gardens through harvest then replant with seasonally appropriate seeds and seedlings. The students will have a bi-monthly printed lessons from the GFP curriculum and weekly printed lessons from their school that meets the Louisiana State standards, "Louisiana Believes". Students will share information with their family and be encouraged to plant gardens at home. Parents will be invited to volunteer with their child's class in the garden. Community partners will volunteer to present topics pertaining to the garden and food sustainability. There will be typically 4 or 5 units with multiple lessons within each unit.