Urban students grow food at Los Angeles school garden
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."

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/tween56/urban-students-grow-food-los-angeles-school-garden/

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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)
  • kerstins-lan
    12/04/2015 - 12:23 p.m.

    These kinds of programs help build a demand for healthy food by givng them fruit and vegies and not fast food

  • samiyahc-lan
    12/04/2015 - 12:25 p.m.

    because lately there has been obese kids and i think there trying to make us eat healthy

  • nicholasw-lan
    12/04/2015 - 02:10 p.m.

    They help because they help people eat healthier foods and make better decisions in food.

  • alexise-lan
    12/04/2015 - 02:23 p.m.

    The way these kind of programs help you build demand for healthier food is that they will make a garden club for those that can't do one at there home because mabey where they live the soil is really bad .

  • donteh-lan
    12/04/2015 - 02:25 p.m.

    the reason for a demand of healthy foods is because the poverty need good food for there bodies.for example your eating but your not eating the food that makes you healthy strong then your just eating food that increases your body fat. its important because your more attractive musley and big

  • stevenm-lan
    12/04/2015 - 03:11 p.m.

    what is other food people can have

  • danteb-lan
    12/04/2015 - 03:13 p.m.

    I like the program,I wish I could join in on it

  • willier-lan
    12/04/2015 - 03:18 p.m.

    These kinds of programs help build a demand for healthy because people will have a different choice then to eat at a fast food place and it is not healthy for you to eat of fast food that is why I think there will be a demand

  • trinidadg-sch
    12/08/2015 - 12:52 p.m.

    These kinds of programs help build a demand for healthy foods by making kids more interested in planting food and buying fresh produce.

    • isaiaho-sch
      12/09/2015 - 12:17 p.m.

      I agree with what you said because it does make a demand for healthy foods.

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