Health Garden on NPR

Community Gardening Gets A New Purpose At Health Clinic

It doesn’t look like a doctor’s office, but the patch of ground in front of the Petaluma Health Center in Sonoma County, Calif., is an important part of the center’s efforts to combat obesity in kids.

About a dozen children who are patients at the center help plant, water, weed and harvest kale, spinach, Swiss chard, bok choy, strawberries and other produce in three raised beds in front of the community health center. Once harvested, the kids get to eat the fruits and vegetables of their labor, with tips on preparation from weekly cooking demonstrations.

It’s all part of the Petaluma Loves Active Youth program for the center’s children, 35 percent of whom are obese. In addition to the gardening and cooking demos, the weekly meetings at the center also teach healthy eating habits and have a movement component to get the kids exercising.

Noting that Latino children are among those most affected by diabetes and obesity, Dr. Fasih Hameed, one of the family physicians at the center, says the program teaches the kids that “you can reverse this trend.”


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