Healthy Eating for All of Us
A longtime highlight of our Children and Family Services, our Learning Gardens program is growing in exciting ways to increase healthy eating choices and access to fresh fruits and vegetables among the families we serve. Since July 2020 the Production Farm has produced 1,300 pounds of food including apples, cabbage, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, and zucchini. We’re thrilled to announce an innovative new partnership with local food-system visionary Sanzuma and the expansion of the garden at Old Gallinas Children’s Center in San Rafael.
[Read our story: Growing a Garden into a Production Farm]
Toward Food Justice
There are significant amounts of food insecurity among the families we serve. In Marin County, an estimated one in three children and seniors are food insecure. The local small stores have very limited selection and very little produce. Many of our families default to a daily diet of high-calorie, highly processed, and/or chemically treated foods that compromise their health. Our farm ensures that we grow, educate, and feed good food into tomorrow!
Research shows that involving children in a school gardening program may do more than cultivate a green thumb. In one study, elementary school children showed increased willingness to try new foods after growing and cooking in a school-based kitchen and gardening program.
As this project matures, our Central Kitchen will incorporate more and more produce from the farm into meals prepared for children at all of our child development sites. We will also look to construct a chicken coop, outdoor kitchen (for food demonstrations), and offer planting and harvesting events and celebrations. Together, we’re learning that good food is fun!
Success StoryWhat's the Food Cycle?
Breaking ground on the production farm in fall 2019 was a moment of success for our agency and community, including parents of the children in our child development programs. From getting the soil ready, to planting seeds and trees, to having our first harvest this spring, families have been involved every step of the way. To complete the cycle, children will soon learn how the remnants of the fruits and vegetables they grow and eat can be turned into compost, nourishing the soil while reducing garbage waste. From humble beginnings with the dirt outside their classroom windows, our children and families have helped to transform the land into bounty.