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On Tuesday, I visited beautiful Te Auau to help children at the local School to plant fruit trees in their wonderful food garden. If you want kids to acquire a taste for fresh vegetables and fruit you can’t beat having them grow them – chooks are coming next!
The next stop was Mararoa School for more plantings. Great day, great kids… Southland’s greatest future asset.
Parents who struggle to get their kids to eat fresh food have my sympathy. The clamour ad demand for fast food and other junk must be hard to resist given all the advertising their children are exposed to these days.
Advertising that is artfully crafted to drive the obsession so many kids seem to have about such food is terrifically effective, while at the same time heartbreaking when you consider the impact that bad eating habits will have on the future health and prosperity of our communities.
Obesity, heart disease and a range of bad health outcomes that can follow such obsessive consumption can blight a child’s future and severely limit their participation in physical activity when they should be enjoying an active lifestyle. Of course, occasional treats are fine, but it is worrisome that there are so many children who simply refuse nutritional, fresh food. One effective way to counter this is to have them grow food for themselves and seeing for myself two Southland schools are encouraging them to do just that was illuminating.
The children very obviously thought that being free to graze on vegetables straight out of the soil, and fruit straight off a tree, was a real treat! The act of actually planting trees and tending vegetables was such a positive and enjoyable activity that I cannot say enough about it.
This activity is every bit as beneficial as any other educational program and of course, it is an ideal opportunity to discuss things along the way like the way trees sequester carbon from the atmosphere and how this can help reduce the carbon stress on the world’s atmosphere.
These programs don’t have to cost schools a lot, as community volunteers like the local Lions are happy to get stuck in to help donate seeds, saplings, and time.
I would love to see programs like this in every school in Southland.
Altogether these programs represent a win for everyone.