Growing Food Security in Alberta (GFSA) is a Canadian non-profit organization working to increase the availability of fresh food and thereby improve food security.
I do not know of a better way to teach and encourage good nutrition and food security.
In my view, food security starts with each of knowing how to produce at least some of our own food. We should learn this at an early age. All kids should be given the knowledge of modern SIP systems. A good motto for parents and teachers is "give a kid a SIP". It is a gift that will last a lifetime.
Could a simple planter box change the way kids think about food? Based on what I’ve seen and heard so far, yes. Since implementing a project known as Earthbox Kids in a local Fort Vermilion school, I am certain that these lucky children will have a new perspective on food and it’s origins.
What is an Earthbox? The Earthbox is essentially a plastic container with four casters on the bottom. It boasts a self watering system with a reservoir in the bottom of the box. There is an aeration screen over the reservoir, and a plastic cover that fits over the whole box. Once the soil, dolomite & fertilizer are in, holes must be cut through the cover and the seeds/seedlings can then be planted! Since it is so simple, the grade six students were able to plant their own boxes.
Students who participated in the program planted corn, carrots, peppers, peas, beans and tomatoes. They will monitor how the plants grow during the season and in the fall they will hold a harvest meal at school. For many, this experience was the first time they made a connection between their health and the origins of their food. A project like Earthbox Kids is small in size but the ripples it creates are significant. The ability to grow and enjoy healthy foods provides a hands on experience in agriculture. As well, a healthy food environment in the school can positively influence food choices at home. I have already been contacted by teachers and parents alike, requesting more information on how to purchase the Earthboxes for their homes! I will provide updates as the project ‘grows’!
For more information check out www.earthbox.com
Earthbox Kids is sponsored by Growing Forward, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.
Submitted by Kaitlin Niksic, Health Promotion Coordinator, Alberta Health Services, Fort Vermilion