Obesity is one of the most expensive health care problems in America. One third of U.S. children are overweight or obese putting them at higher risk of heart disease and stroke.
The American Heart Association is taking a new approach in the fight against childhood obesity. We’ve teamed with noted child-nutrition activist and philanthropist Kelly Meyer to create the American Heart Association Teaching Gardens planted in elementary schools across the country that become real-life learning laboratories for students to learn what it means to be healthy.
Aimed at first graders through fifth, we teach children how to plant seeds, nurture growing plants, harvest produce and ultimately understand the value of good eating habits.
Garden-themed lessons teach nutrition, math, science and other subjects all while having fun in the fresh air and working with your hands.
Together, we can dramatically change the way America thinks about and consumes food.
How It Works
The American Heart Association works closely with each school to assess its ability to successfully benefit from an American Heart Association Teaching Garden. The program is a functional addition to schools and can be as unique as the community it serves.
Once a school commits to the program, a school-wide planting day is scheduled. The American Heart Association provides the materials for planting day, garden beds, organic soil, seedlings and plants, cooking demonstrations and other fun activities. Schools receive an American Heart Association Teaching Garden Tool Kit with useful information including a school garden manual, lesson plans, school activation ideas, and parent and community resources.
With oversight from American Heart Association staff, the Teaching Gardens program provides volunteer opportunities for the community.
How to Get Involved with Teaching Gardens
The American Heart Associations Teaching Gardens are funded by local donations from individuals, corporations, foundations and other community-based organizations. Learn more about the supporters of Teaching Gardens.
Once funding is in place in a community, a garden location is determined. The designated school must complete a comprehensive survey that assures their commitment to the program. Additionally, the school is required to establish a Teaching Gardens Committee to be involved in the program. Before the first planting, this Committee receives special training to help guide their responsibilities.
To learn more about local opportunities for American Heart Association Teaching Gardens, please contact your local AHA office.