The Capital Area Food Bank has brought together Anacostia youth for the past five summers through the Garden Club at Children of Mine Center, which teaches children to garden, cook and eat healthily. Over the course of six weeks, more than 30 kids spent time in the garden, getting their hands in the soil, exploring nutrition concepts and cooking healthy foods.
These kids are gardeners. They care for seedlings and support them as they produce food. They know all about the soil, its three main components and how much it matters for the plants we grow and love. They like worms and know their role in creating a healthy space for plants to grow. They know about plants and not only can list all six of the main plant parts, but can tell you which part of the plant we eat when we snack on their favorite vegetable.
These kids know about nutrition and are healthy cooks. They embrace MyPlate and know how to fill theirs with a healthy, balanced meal. They choose foods that are good to eat because they know how to read nutrition labels. They care about the strength of their bones and their muscles and they choose nutrients that will help them be their best. They relish the opportunity to incorporate produce they grew into the meals they eat. They think about ways to incorporate all the food groups into the snacks that we prepare. They enjoy each bite and politely ask for more.
These kids inspire hope for the next generation because they can help their peers, families and their community connect with the soil and live healthy lives. As the food bank grows into its new space and builds its new urban demonstration garden, the time spent educating kids like those at Children of Mine Center about food will only further our ability to promote healthy food and support communities as they work to provide nourishment for all.