Urban students grow food at Los Angeles school garden U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy joins John C. Fremont High School students, including Xiaxiang English, left, at a display of food items grown from the school's Gardening Apprenticeship Program plot on the campus south of downtown Los Angeles Friday, Nov. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
Urban students grow food at Los Angeles school garden
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Elizabeth Castro had never tasted beets or kumquats before she joined an after-school gardening program at her inner city Los Angeles high school.
 
Now, the 15-year-old helps grow the produce on campus in an urban neighborhood. The area is filled with auto shops and fast food restaurants. She's taken produce samples home for her family to try.
 
"Many things that I experienced here, I had never experienced before," Castro told U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. They were on a tour of the 1.5-acre site along with Castro's fellow students. "Instead of going home and doing nothing at all, we come here."
 
Murthy recently visited the partnership between community organizations and John C. Fremont High School. Murthy was there to support healthy initiatives in neighborhoods starved for fresh produce. In addition, the neighborhoods are struggling with childhood obesity.
 
"These kinds of programs, they help build a demand for healthy foods," Murthy said.
 
At the South Los Angeles campus, students are involved in the 12-week after-school gardening apprenticeship program. They learn to grow food and cook healthy dishes. They pull from kumquat and lime trees and planters filled with potatoes, peas and beets. A community health clinic run by UMMA that caters to students and neighborhood residents is located next door.
 
The Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust started the garden four years ago. It plans to add a greenhouse. Those in the apprenticeship program have seen a jump in their grades and the amount of fruit and vegetables they eat, said Mark Glassock. He is director of special projects for the trust. A similar project is being designed at a nearby high school.
 
"Schools have a lot of property on their campuses, much of which is underutilized. So this is a great alternative to use that space," he said.
 
A 2013 report showed about 40 percent of the school's students were overweight or obese, Glassock said. Across the country, the obesity rate in children age 2 to 19 has held around 17 percent for the last decade. That is according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
 
Azucena Lozoya, 16, said she signed up for the gardening program because she never had a chance to try anything like it where she lives. Since then, she's enjoyed tasting kale and a variety of melons. They have become additions to the rice, bean and chicken dishes she usually gets at home, she said.
 
"My mom never makes stuff like that," Lozoya said. "This helps us have a different range of food. This helps us have choices."

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why do "these kinds of programs help build a demand for healthy foods?"
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (123)
  • joseh2-lan
    12/04/2015 - 10:50 a.m.

    These kind of programs help build a demand for healthy food by getting into the habit of eating right and nutritious foods. The people in the program are learning about good healthy foods and how to cook them and can make the foods that are good for them in others places such as their homes. They them enjoy the foods a lot and are used t eating them.

  • jamesh-lan
    12/04/2015 - 10:56 a.m.

    The kinds of programs help build is that most of these people that have done most of this stuff don't even get to ea as much as us it.what is the other food that people can have because some of the people can have other food the the one they make

  • johnb2-lan
    12/04/2015 - 11:00 a.m.

    These kinds of programs help demand healthy food by making people stay healthy and wealthy so they can ave a fantastic future up ahead. This means that instead of eating all that junk food almost every day eat fruits and vegetable about twice a day or three times won´t hurt. This is why you should eat healthy everyday.

  • brooklyns1-lan
    12/04/2015 - 11:29 a.m.

    They demand healthy food because a lot of kids are overweight and just eat junk food.Know healthy foods are ever eaten now these days.they would like kids to not be such overwieght.

    • deylap-sch
      12/09/2015 - 12:21 p.m.

      I agree

  • danaeh-lan
    12/04/2015 - 11:34 a.m.

    They build demands for more healthy foods because they want to eat more healthier and make the right decisions.

  • elizabethj-lan
    12/04/2015 - 11:44 a.m.

    These kinds of programs help build a demand for healthy foods because they can help the kids that are overweight be more healthy and lose more weight.They also help kids start to like vegetables.

  • kathya-lan
    12/04/2015 - 11:46 a.m.

    These kinds of programs help build a demand for healthy foods because it helps those kids try healthy foods they've never tried before and some kids hardly eat vegetables and that causes them to be overweight.In the article it states,"A 2013 report showed about 40 percent of the school's students were overweight or obese,Glassock said.Across the county,the obesity rate in children age 2 to 19 has held around 17 percent for the last decade."There are more unhealthy kids in the world than healthy so the gardens demand for healthy foods.

  • rachelm1-lan
    12/04/2015 - 12:19 p.m.

    These kinds of programs helps build a demand for healthy food because, most people like to ask someone exactly how they want their food instead of ordering it with a little something on that they don't like. It also helps demand a healthy food because, they can trust the person making the food for them. For an example; lets say that i want a sand-witch with tomatoes, ham, cheese, mustered, and onions, i can watch them make my food with no problem. They wouldn't be the type to harm people,because all they are trying to do is help feed people and let them go the rest of their day thanking someone for making their order right and great!

  • jadat-lan
    12/04/2015 - 12:20 p.m.

    because they need healthy food .if they dont have healthy food they would be sick .cause if you eat fast food you will get sick .how i now because i dont do it

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