Miami-Dade

Miami Region

It's all about planting good seeds!

How do you get a thousand 5-to-10-year-olds to eat fruits and vegetables instead of desserts and snacks? It's a dirty job, but The Education Fund's Plant a Thousand Gardens Collaborative Nutrition Initiative (CNI) found a way to get hundreds of kids not only to eat healthy foods for lunches and dinner but also to actually enjoyand even request them!

Created to address the alarming rate of childhood obesity, diabetes and other medical conditions due to poor nutritional choices, Plant a Thousand Gardens offers students a hands-on approach to learning about health, nutrition and core academic disciplines by giving them the opportunity to plant and maintain gardens.

Watching things begin to grow.

Students, along with their teachers and parents, plant, tend and harvest their own gardens. Parents also are invited to attend workshops on preparing healthy meals. The program has grown from five Miami-Dade County elementary schools in 2007-08 to more than 25.

"Seeing the way my kids are making smarter choices about nutrition makes me very thankful that my son has been able to be a part of this incredible life changing experience," said one mother. "Not only have his eating habits changed, but the eating habits for the people around him have changed as well. The vegetable garden that the kids made at school has inspired my son to grow his own."

Impressive results from a truly ground- breaking project.

The Education Fund's Plant a Thousand Gardens Collaborative Nutrition Initiative gives students a hands-on approach to learning about health, nutrition and core academic disciplines by offering opportunities to plant and maintain gardens at school.

The BCBSF Foundation named The Education Fund a Winner of the 2009 Sapphire Award for its groundbreaking work with Plant a Thousand Gardens.