Children at The Learning Center at Concord Hospital are Learning How to Farm Thanks to Several Local Farmers
A variety of vegetable, fruit, herb and flower plants were recently donated to The Learning Center (TLC) at Concord Hospital to support their efforts in teaching children the importance of a healthy lifestyle and good nutrition. Dimond Hill Farm, Concord; Worksong Farm, Hopkinton; Warner River Organics, Webster; and the Vegetable Ranch in Warner donated dozens of plants including cucumbers, tomatoes, raspberries and more.
The donated plants have been planted by the children in a newly formed garden space at The Learning Center and the children are learning to water, weed and harvest the garden. The children are encouraged to try the foods they have grown, prepare recipes using the foods and eat them for snacks. In addition, older children at TLC are learning about the growing process, germination and what plants need to grow. The children also took a field trip to a local farm to see a greenhouse and learn how plants are grown on a larger scale.
“Children learn best by experiencing things first hand,” shared Diana Menard, Program Coordinator at The Learning Center. “Children at our Center plant seeds, take trips to farms and green houses, take care of the plants and ultimately harvest what they have grown. They even help to prepare the fruits and vegetables to eat, and they are much more likely to eat what they have grown themselves, even the children who don’t usually try new foods.”
In March 2013, TLC implemented the Farm to Preschool program which is designed to help teachers and child care providers educate children on the importance of good eating habits; developing a healthy lifestyles through good nutrition and experiential opportunities such as gardening; improving healthy food access at home and within the community; and ultimately influencing policies to address the childhood obesity epidemic through a local food lens.
To learn more about the Farm to Preschool program, visit www.farmtopreschool.org.