A Nutrition Education Program
“In Sonoma County, 38% of low-income children, ages 2-11, and 44% of low-income teens, ages 12-19, are overweight or obese” (California Health Interview Survey, 2011).
In response to concerns about obesity rates among children in Sonoma County, SGN developed Healthy Roots. Healthy Roots is a traveling nutrition education program for Sonoma County elementary school students that directly links what is being grown in school gardens with healthy eating. Healthy Roots provides students with:
- Hands-on experience harvesting, preparing, and eating fresh, whole foods
- Increased knowledge & awareness of, and preferences for locally grown crops
- Nutrition lessons and activities to build strong bodies and healthy habits
- Opportunities to interact with their school garden in a meaningful way
SGN’s Nutrition Educator delivers on-site nutrition and cooking classes throughout the school year for grades 3 through 8. Discussions revolve around crops grown in Sonoma County, nutrition of locally grown fruits and vegetables, hands on cooking, harvesting, and taste-testing, and time outside. Students are involved in all aspects of the cooking process, learning skills and basic recipes that they can use at home. This connection to the home is critical as these students can continue healthy habits outside of school and help to inspire healthy eating among other family members.
The program gives preference to schools that have a high percentage of students in the free and reduced lunch program. Healthy Roots builds on existing school garden programs and the Nutrition Educator works closely with the garden coordinators, classroom teachers, and principals to incorporate nutrition education and cooking skills into the garden curriculum. Classes are held in the school garden and the program is designed to utilize the produce that the students have grown themselves, emphasizing the concept of farm to table and eating the freshest food possible.
SGN is currently offering Healthy Roots to 5 schools for the 2016-2017 school year:
- Abraham Lincoln School, Santa Rosa
- Brook Hill Elementary, Santa Rosa
- R.L. Stevens Elementary, Santa Rosa
- Guerneville School, Guerneville
- McKinley School, Petaluma
“Healthy Roots lessons provided learners with a comprehensible knowledge base about healthy levels of nutrients and the skills needed for them to begin to make healthier choices for themselves and their families.” Kate McGerity, El Camino High School
We’d like to thank the organizations who have helped us achieve our goals through donations to the Healthy Roots Program.