The American Heart Association is offering a new online community for gardening enthusiasts to connect, share information and learn to live healthier.
The free site began on July 30th and is designed for people of all ages and skill levels who garden at home, school or in the community. Resources are available to explain different garden types and designs, cultivation methods, lesson plans for educational gardening programs and healthy recipes for fresh, garden-grown foods, according to the AHA.
Garden Community members can participate in discussions, get ideas about other gardening programs and share photos, videos and other tips to show what makes their garden or gardening program successful. They also can compare notes on teaching children about gardening and healthy eating.
The virtual community is a natural outgrowth of the AHA Teaching Garden program, which reaches 270 U.S. elementary schools. By increasing Americans’ fruit and vegetable consumption, the Garden Community can help lower obesity rates and improve overall health, according to the AHA.
Research shows that children who grow vegetables may be more likely to eat them, and people eat more fruits and vegetables if they participate in community gardens.
Reblogged from blog.heart.org
This could be the coolest and easiest garden project we’ve seen all summer. Students at Peters Elementary in Garden Grove, California made their own inverse tomato hangers out of recycled plastic bottles. That’s right, Inverse hangers. As in tomatoes that grow upside down! Pretty cool, huh?
You might be thinking “How does that even work?” It’s pretty simple. Plants naturally grow towards sunlight, so even when they’re upside down they’ll still grow up. Water goes into the top of the plastic bottle, directly onto the roots. When extra water flows down onto the plant it also gets moisture and nutrients onto its leaves, thus producing a hardier fruit.
The kids had a blast with this project. Just look at those excited faces!
And there you have it, tomatoes that defy gravity. Here’s how you can grow your own inverse tomatoes.
You will need:
- tomato seedling
- Empty two liter soda bottle or milk jug
- hole punch
- duct tape
- garden soil
- Sturdy line to hang your planter with, such as twine, leather string, a cut coat hanger, etc.
- A weather resistant hook
Then use these simple instructions from Instructionables.com to build your hangers.
Have your kids done any cool garden projects this summer? Tell us about them in the comments.
It’s party time!
We’re celebrating two very important birthdays today. The American Heart Association is celebrating 90 years of saving and improving the lives of those affected by heart disease. In honor of our special day, we’re taking a look back at the biggest moments from our first 9 decades.
And we would be remiss if we didn’t give a birthday shout-out to our wonderful Teaching Gardens founder and fearless leader, Kelly Meyer. Kelly works tirelessly everyday to help children eat better and grow strong through gardening. She is such an inspiration and we absolutely adore her.
You have to watch this video of the super sweet kiddos at Peters Elementary singing Happy Birthday to Kelly during their American Heart Association Teaching Garden planting day.
If anyone needs us, we’ll be the guys rockin’ the double party hats.
Until next week, happy growing everyone!
Great news! A recently study by Cornell University found that school gardens help kids be more physically active. By the end of the study, kids at schools with gardens were moderately physically active at school for 10 more minutes a week than before their schools had gardens. That is four times more active than children at gardenless schools! What’s more, children who gardened at school were substantially less sedentary at home and elsewhere outside of school.
The researchers found that on average, children sat for 84 percent and stood for 10 percent during a typical indoor class. However during garden lessons, kids moved about much more, sitting for only 15 percent of the time, with the majority of their time spent standing, walking and kneeling.
Read more about this study and check out the American Heart Association’s recommendations for physical activity in children.
Our Western States affiliate is wasting no time getting back into the garden. Kathy Rogers, American Heart Association Western States Affiliate Executive Vice President shared this story on her blog The WSA Exchange.
Though you might not know it from some of the crazy weather going on around the country – spring has definitely sprung in the Western States in the form of Teaching Gardens. Santiago Elementary School became home to one of 12 Teaching Gardens in Orange County, CA, provided with funding support from The California Endowment. Students, parents and teachers worked hand-in-hand to build planter boxes, fill them up with soil and plant vegetable and fruit seedlings — including strawberries, zucchini, tomatoes, lettuce and a variety of herbs. Each school is funded for three years during which they are preparing to be self-sufficient to maintain a sustainable garden.
Kids at Crestwood Elementary in Las Vegas, NV, also got their hands dirty while planting and learning about health. On hand to help were School Principal Jackie Richardson, Chair of the Teaching Gardens Executive Leadership Committee; Aurora Buffington of the Southern Nevada Health District; Las Vegas division Board of Directors member Judah Zakalik, along with faculty and community members. It looks like a good time was had by all!
Click here to continue reading about the great heart healthy happenings in the Western States!
Special congrats to our fearless leader and co-founder, Kelly Meyer on her nomination for the United States Healthful Food Council’s Childhood Nutrition Food Innovator award. REAL Food innovator awards celebrate leaders in the promotion of healthful and sustainable foods. Join us in wishing Kelly good luck in the comments! Go Kelly Go!
Other nominees include:
- Diane Schmidt, Founder, Healthy Fare for Kids
- Shazi Visram, Founder and CEO, Happy Family
- Chef Tyler Florence, Co-founder, Sprout Foods
- Catherine McCord, Author
- Dr. Alan Greene
- Chef Jamie Oliver
- Kirsten Tobey and Kristin Richmond, Founders, Revolution Foods
Congrats to all these nutrition warriors! Thank you for fighting to make our world happier and healthier.
Have you ever tried Kale chips? Third graders at Garfield Elementary in Long Beach, CA used produce from their teaching garden to make this crunchy healthy snack. Classes harvested the kale, washed leaves, shredded , mixed in seasoning, and prepared them for the cafeteria oven. 120 students participated and enjoyed tasting kale!
How to Make Kale Chips:
- Wash and dry leaves with a towel
- Tear into bite-sized pieces
- Drizzle with a little oil and black pepper.
- Bake at 350° for 10-15 minutes until crispy.
Read more about the health benefits of kale.