Countless research has shown that gardening with children have numerous benefits, including social, emotional, physical, and mental. Gardening has shown to improve nutrition, reduce obesity rates, increase physical activity, impact mental health, and even improve academic scores.
The Junior Master Gardener (JMG) Program kicked off the new series on May 12th with a newly renovated raised garden bed, called the Garden of Eatin’. JMG is a youth gardening and nutrition program designed for kids aged 8-12 years old. FoodWIse Nutrition Educators partner with the Fond du Lac County Master Gardener Association volunteers to offer the program. From “seed to plate”, the youth are directly involved in the entire process, including planting the seeds in the greenhouse, planning out the garden plots, pulling weeds, composting, and harvesting. Following harvest, the youth either prepare the produce in the kitchen in healthy recipes or they donate to a local food pantry. The “Eating from the Garden” curriculum is used to provide education on MyPlate, the 5 food groups, label reading, food safety. Master Gardeners highlight topics on composting, bees and pollinators, and lasagna and raised bed gardening. The program also includes field trips, community volunteer service, and guest speakers.