The American Heart Association's My Heart. My Life. healthy living initiative helps Americans understand what it means to be healthy and empowers them to take action. Teaching Gardens are an innovative component in elementary schools, teaching life lessons through gardening, nutrition education and healthy cooking.
The California Endowment helps Teaching Gardens thrive
American Heart Association Teaching Gardens are thriving in South Los Angeles thanks to a deep-rooted commitment from The California Endowment. Through its generous support, nutrition education is combined with garden-based learning at 11 elementary schools this spring. The goal of the program is to improve children's overall health.
Kathlyn Mead, Executive Vice President of The California Endowment, explains, “We are cultivating life lessons for urban families through teaching gardens and healthy cooking. The discipline and joy in these activities can translate into other areas of their lives, creating attitudes and opportunities that lead to healthy lifestyle choices.”
The California Endowment, which collaborates with our Greater Los Angeles Division on several outreach programs, is also partnering with the American Heart Association on 10 additional Teaching Gardens at schools in Long Beach.
The Teaching Gardens’ nutrition theme echoes in Dr. Seuss’ beloved tale of The Lorax. So when Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment premiered The Lorax film recently in Universal City, our gardens were included in the celebration. Students from participating schools attended and enjoyed a hands-on garden preview, pictured above and here, before walking the “orange” carpet to the Gibson Amphitheatre.
Teaching Gardens were created using American Heart Association science and nutrition guidelines coupled with information from gardening and education experts, all thanks to Teaching Garden founder Kelly Meyer. Studies show that healthy behavior positively impacts learning. For many inner city children, Teaching Gardens provide the only link between nature and fresh produce. The American Heart Association now has more than 100 gardens nationwide.
For more information about the Teaching Gardens program and how you can participate, visit www.heart.org/teachinggardens.