My name is Jennifer. I am a graduate student studying nutrition and am especially interested in researching school lunch policy, children’s nutrition, and sustainable food systems. I am curious about the role teaching gardens and other garden education efforts play in promoting healthier eating habits for children, and this blog will feed my inquiry.
As a kid, I was always enthusiastic about cooking and loved to spend time in the family garden (except when my mom asked for help weeding!). I spent summer afternoons foraging the yard for strawberries and raspberries and snacking on wax beans freshly plucked from the garden.
My interest in the local food system piqued during my time as an undergrad in northern Vermont. In the last few years, I have worked as a vendor at a farmer’s market, a gardener at a fruit tree nursery, and a volunteer at an after school gardening and cooking program. These experiences are relived through the food I eat. I have vivid memories of my fingers turned hot pink from juicy mulberries, and of harvesting dozens of supple heads of butter leaf lettuce with middle-schoolers. It is through these moments that I build meaningful connections to the food I eat.
I am not an expert on gardening or youth education, but I plan to learn more by volunteering with gardening organizations in my community. The nonprofit I will work with, Friends of Burlington Gardens, promotes gardening for all ages and skill levels. My intention in writing this blog is to share a perspective on this gardening program, particularly as it pertains to the promotion of health and nutrition for children. Please feel free to add to the discussion.