Pledge by: The Kitchen Community
Location: Across the U.S.
Today about one in three kids is overweight or obese, and only 20 percent of high school students in the United States report eating the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Eating nutritious foods that lead to a healthy life is a common goal for many families. But many families don’t have easy access to stores that carry the produce their family needs. It takes planning and trial and error to increase the fresh fruit and vegetable consumption among young people. Eating healthy, fresh foods can reduce a child’s risk of weight gain and obesity, as well as related illnesses like cardiovascular disease and diabetes. A nutritious diet also improves students’ ability to learn by bettering their moods, decreasing absenteeism, and improving cognitive function.
The Kitchen Community, a 2013 Clinton Health Matters Pledge Maker, is a nonprofit organization that connects children to healthy foods by building Learning Gardens in schools and communities throughout the United States. Studies show that children involved in a garden-based nutrition education program more than double their overall fruit and vegetable intake, and those who participate in hands-on science lessons in school gardens score 15 percent higher on science tests than children in traditional classrooms. Harnessing this information, The Kitchen Community seeks to decrease childhood obesity, improve academic performance, and strengthen communities through its gardens, which feature edible vegetables and serve as attractive outdoor classrooms and play spaces .
During the 2013 Health Matters conference, 31 Pledges to Action were made to help improve the health and well-being across the U.S. In total, these pledges are worth more than $100 million and will benefit more than 25 million people. The Kitchen Community, for example, is on track to create 180 Learning Gardens across the U.S. by the end of 2013, primarily in public schools in Chicago, Denver, and Los Angeles..
- So far, The Kitchen Community has built 100 Learning Gardens and 7 Community gardens, reaching 100,000 kids across the country.
- Students who learn in The Kitchen Community gardens will increase their consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables by at least one more serving per week.
- The Kitchen Community kids’ exposure to vegetable gardens, and awareness of fresh fruits and vegetables, will increase by at least 20 percent.