The “Sprouts – Get Out and Grow” kids’ garden and cooking program will provide a seed-to-table experience for young children to foster a love for vegetables.
A garden area has been prepared adjacent to the Winona Hy-Vee in anticipation of “Sprouts – Get Out and Grow,” a summer gardening program for kids.
The goal of the program is to cultivate healthier food choices in young children by having them involved in growing the vegetables, says Alexandra Economy, the store’s registered dietitian. “By actually seeing where vegetables come from and helping tend the garden, we hope to plant the seeds for healthy habits that will last a lifetime for kids,” she said.
The Winona Area Public Schools (WAPS), Winona Family YMCA and Winona Health are co-sponsors of the program. Funds from the Elizabeth Callender King Foundation, Winona Health’s Healthy Kids Club and the Winona Area Public Schools Foundation assisted in the construction of the outdoor garden and cooking classroom, a 24x104’ plot adjacent to the store’s parking lot.
Classes will take place weekly throughout the summer in conjunction with the Winona Family YMCA school-age day care program. “The Winona Family YMCA is honored and excited to be part of the ‘Sprouts Get Out and Grow’ program this summer,” said Deb Kohner, the youth and family director of the Winona Family YMCA.
Linda Jacobs, enrichment coordinator for WAPS community education, says the program also ties in with the schools’ goals. “WAPS has a strong wellness focus for students, families and staff alike.”
Research shows that teaching children lifelong healthy eating habits when they are young leads to lower rates of childhood obesity. This corresponds with the recent release of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which states an “urgent need to focus on children.”
Additional classes will be offered for children who are not part of the day care program. More information will available in the near future on these classes.