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Grow. Eat. Share. is an enrichment program offered through both Chaska and Minnetonka's Community Education programs. Grow. Eat. Share. teaches kids to garden, cook with what they grow, and to donate fresh produce to the food shelf! Class description: SMALL hands will sprout little green thumbs when they spend their summer in the magical Grow. Eat. Share. kitchen garden! Kiddos large and small will learn to GROW organic fruits and vegetables, to COOK delicious, nutritious fun recipes with what they grow, and to do BIG things when they SHARE their fresh harvest with Chaska’s Bountiful Basket Food Shelf. So far, Grow. Eat. Share. has donated 1782.5 pounds of produce! Students will spend 3 weeks planting, 4 weeks cooking and 1 week giving. Some class favorites include: planting and harvesting raspberries and strawberries, growing then cooking Pesto Smiley Face Pizza (a sauce made of leaves!), mixing up some fresh Garden Salsa right in the garden, composting, etc. As seen on Kare 11, WCCO and Fox 9, and in The Star Tribune, Southwest Metro Magazine, The Chaska Herald, Simple Good & Tasty and Patch. Kare 11 news report: http://www.kare11.com/video/default.aspx?bctid=260744412001 Fox 9 News: https://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1571125594879&oid=51870633723&comments&ref=mf Star Tribune article: http://www.startribune.com/local/west/99727419.html?elr=KArks%3ADCiUHc3E7_V_nDaycUiD3aPc%3A_Yyc%3AaUUr Register today: https://district112.thatscommunityed.com/course/summer-2013/grow-eat-share#
Chaska Program Builds Momentum Kids learn to Grow. Eat. Share. their way to health Chaska, MN--Today you can't turn on the television without hearing something about America's obesity epidemic, weight loss, contaminated produce, nutrition, or something related to our food & health problems. The question many are asking is can we do anything about it? Thinking nationally but acting locally, one Chaska resident thinks we can. Laura Greene launched Grow. Eat. Share., a gardening project for kids in April. Greene's mission is to change the current cultural standard that includes too much T.V., too many video games, too much fast & processed foods, but not enough healthy food and activity. "I think I'm part of a national food movement!" Greene said. "We have Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign, Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, Dr. Oz's Health Corps, food writer Michael Pollan just made Time's top 100, and Oprah even dedicates entire episodes to our food industry. I think now is the time for change. I think we're all riding the same wave!" Greene's Grow. Eat. Share. teaches kids to garden, be active, cook simply and nutritionally with what they grow, to give back to their community by donating some of what they grow to local food shelves, and to share this knowledge & lifestyle by bringing home vegetables & recipes to try with their family. "Research shows that kids are more likely to make a healthy change if they are involved in the process of making that change," Greene said. "By growing food and learning how to cook with it, they become invested in the process. They're eager to try it again." Greene's innitative has received great support within the community. A space for the main garden was offered by The Mustard Seed Landscaping and Garden center in Chaska. Owner Mark Halla believes this kind of program will benefit the entire community. Greene, who partnered with District 112's Community Education in June, says she's thrilled about the fantastic response Grow. Eat. Share. is receiving. Yet she's not surprised. "Grow. Eat. Share. isn't just a fun thing to do this summer; although it is a really fun thing to do in summer," Greene said. "These kids will learn positive life skills and build the foundation they need for a healthy future. And it's not just the kids health that will be affected, but their environment and community too." The program takes a positive approach, teaching good habits, rather than trying to ban the bad habits. The idea is that the kids end up healthier by default. "Just like a child doesn't realize they're exercising when they're playing on a playground, they won't realize they're lifting, digging, bending, and twisting while they're in the garden," Greene said. Yet Greene also realizes what she's up against. "We know kids don't like to be told they can't have sweets anymore." Greene said. "Abrupt rules as solutions to the obesity epidemic can have negative results. It's our responsibility to come up with fun, creative ways to encourage positive choices. We know the food industry is taking the time to come up with fun, and creative reasons to make poor ones!" While Grow. Eat. Share. charges a fee to enroll in the summer program, scholarships are available to kids in need or at risk. "I was inspired by a 5-year-old boy from Chaska, who is already at risk for diabetes," Greene said. "It all just seemed to fall in to place. I know kids can garden, cook, and help their communities. They're such innovative thinkers! Our project simply creates an environment where they can have a blast--and create positive habits in the process." The idea of creating healthy habits at a young age is not new to the Greene family. Greene's mother, a kindergarten teacher in Chaska for the past 35 years, started a school garden there in the mid-90s. "Kids get so excited to have their own plants," teacher Paula Greene said. "It's cute to see how excited they are when they see their plants come up. Each year the children pull me over to show me the seedlings peeking out. They think they're the only ones to see them! They're so proud."
- Laura Greene
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