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 and she's taken samples for her family to try.
 
"Many things that I experienced here, I had never experienced before," Castro told U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy on a tour of the 1.5-acre site along with her 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 and grappling 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 soon 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, which is designing a similar project 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, 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, new 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 (6)
  • Eugene0808-YYCA
    12/07/2015 - 09:02 p.m.

    I think this is cool because this is necessary for kids to eat healthy. These days, kids are not eating healthy. They have to eat healthy or else it will have a detrimental effect in their health. I like how the students featured in this article want kids to eat healthy.
    Why do "these kinds of programs help build a demand for healthy foods?"
    Answer: These kinds of programs help build a demand for healthy foods because it helps students learn about the different health effects in different kinds of food.

  • maiacariadus-sch
    12/08/2015 - 03:26 p.m.

    In my opinion,these kind of programs help demand healthy foods by "pushing" the kids to eat healthy foods.

  • andrea8-joh
    12/09/2015 - 12:17 p.m.

    They help demand for healthy food so kids won't be obese and they limit there food. This program can help teens and younger kids start a healthy life so they wont become obese. It can led people to start a healthy life.

  • gloria-joh
    12/09/2015 - 12:18 p.m.

    I believe that this quote help demand healthy foods by pushing the kids to get healthy by eating the right kinds of food. I also believe that this means that people should watch their weight and really take care of your body because your body is your temple.

  • noriko-joh
    12/09/2015 - 12:18 p.m.

    The programs help build a demand for healthy foods because, stated in paragraph 9 it says "40 percent of the school's students were overweight or obese".And also stated in paragraph 4 its says "neighborhoods starved for fresh produce and grappling with childhood obesity".

  • junique-joh
    12/09/2015 - 12:18 p.m.

    These kind of programs help build a demand for healthy foods because kids are getting obsessed in their community.So this program is helping reduce obesity in their community and also to stop kids from eating junk food and fattening foods.

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