PORT CHESTER, N.Y. -- When Janett Grose heard children saying that they got their vegetables at McDonald's three years ago, she knew something had to be done.
"That's not right, I thought," said Grose, children's programs manager at the Carver Center. "And then I thought about a way to show them where real food comes from."
What was once a patch of grass nestled between a chain-link fence and the playground's turf mat became a vibrant garden and educational tool for children.
As part of the Carver Center's after-school and summer programming, Grose has the children take part in managing the garden beginning with planting in May, maintaining a regular watering schedule and harvesting produce in the summer months.
This year the garden is producing tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, red beans, lettuces, squash, jalapenos and an assortment of herbs. Most of what is grown goes into the meals prepared for the children.
"They get excited about eating vegetables because they grew it themselves," said Grose.
Grose said the garden promotes healthy eating, connects the children with nature and the food they eat and shows them the value of communal effort and sharing.
"For some children, it's their first time putting their hands into the soil," said Grose. "It's a wonderful thing to grow your own food."
Do you have a garden at home, or know a nearby community garden where you can take your children?
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