Program helps students learn to grow, harvest, cook vegetables

Learn, Grow, Eat, and Go program teaches kids nutrition, food safety

SAN ANTONIO – Elementary students in the Harlandale Independent School District are making awesome changes to their health.

They're teaming up with Texas A&M Agrilife in Bexar County to learn how to grow, harvest and cook their own vegetables.

"They actually take care of the vegetable, they take turns to come out and take the weeds out, watering them, taking care of it, so it's their garden," Angie Gutierrez, with Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service, said.

The Schulze Elementary School third-graders are kicking off the Learn, Grow, Eat, and Go program.

Their mission for the next 10 weeks is to plant their own vegetables and care for those vegetables throughout the growth cycle.

"We're hoping that ladybugs will come so they can see the life cycle of a ladybug," teacher Andriana Aguilar-Lapoint said.

The program teaches kids everything from nutrition to food safety, such as washing their hands and vegetables.

"A lot of times kids don't like to eat vegetables," Gutierrez said. "So what we do -- they actually learn in the classroom the importance of vitamins and nutrients they get from eating different types of vegetables."

Once the students harvest their veggies, they will have a chance to taste them -- both raw and cooked.

"At the beginning, they might say, 'I don't like this, I don't like this, I don't like all different types of vegetables,' but we've seen such an increase when we do our post evaluation that they actually enjoy tasting them and learning about them."

The kids will also prepare healthy recipes in the classroom with their teachers. Then at home, the students will become the teachers, encouraging their families to practice healthier eating habits.

"This is one of the sides of town where everything is fast food, Mexican restaurants, and then for them to see this and hopefully be the teachers to their families, 'Mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, tio, tia, can we go get some vegetables from the supermarket?'" Aguilar-Lapoint said.

The children will also learn the importance of being active through the Walk across Texas" program. It teaches them not only about eating healthy, but about making healthy choices and being active.

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