Thinking back on my lifelong goals, and the early childhood studies, I was prompted to stop for a moment to see if my goals and purpose for my blog were in sync. In pondering the effectiveness of Gremi’s Garden Blog, I wondered if this was applicable to the current course of study. The answer was a resounding yes. In my research of the world organizations advocating and providing resources for children, families and communities to improve the state of nutrition, have included back yard gardens and community gardens that help provide food as well as funding, through the sale of fresh farmed foods (Mason, 2016).
In the UNICEF report, education about nutrition and its effects on early childhood is also well established, partnering with local advocates and community members (Mason, 2016). Malnutrition and food insecurities are not isolated incidents that occur only in underdeveloped or impoverished nations. It is a grim consequence of the disparities and barriers in access, affordability, and availability. The Center for American Progress describes areas where malnutrition is high, as “food deserts”, having only corner markets in which nutritious foods are not readily available (Blackwell, 2016). Blackwell reports, “Over the past century, the nation’s food system radically transformed from one sustained by family farms to an industrialized system dependent on toxic agricultural practices, farm consolidation, food processing operations, and distribution warehouses. Such a system often further elongates the distance between food sources and consumers”.
Bringing the issue into living color, our capital, Washington D.C. had the highest rate of food insecurities of the reporting nation, having 1 in 3 children lacking consistent access to healthy food sources. Many initiatives have taken root as studies have driven the empirical data of nutrition and the balance it can provide in healthy, safe and equitable development. Gardening Kids .Org, is one of these organizations that serve as an educational forum on gardening, stewardship, cooperation, that present an immediate response to the widening gaps of adequate nutrition for our children and the community at large. Gardening kids provide free information to those seeking to implement community gardens in low income areas, as well as gardens in schools.
My contribution to the early childhood field has not been swayed by the many barriers to healthy development. Moreover, my determination for providing this simple assistance to my community is adequately increased. It all starts with a single seed, a single hello, and a dedicated hand. Although my plight may not be viewed initially as a social movement towards equity that is exactly what gardening has done for many communities. Equity, access and availability all render barriers that can be transformed when food insecurities and malnutrition are removed from the equation.
Let It Grow
The long-lasting benefits of a school garden — supporting health and wellness, encouraging students to choose nutritious foods
Community gardens provide food, income for families
|© UNICEF Niger/2005/Page|
|UNICEF-supported community gardens in Niger provide children with food; excess yields are sold to purchase medicines, school supplies and other staples.|
By Kent Page
AGADEZ, Niger, 14 September 2005 – Niger is struggling to cope with a nutrition crisis. But in the village of Alikinkin, community gardens are an oasis of beauty and a source of food, helping children avoid the worst effects of the crisis.
In Alikinkin’s gardens, donkeys, goats and birds flourish among the grasses, bushes, palm and date trees. Neatly-planted rows of crops are irrigated with fresh water pumped from wells – a stark contrast to the situation in other parts of the country.
UNICEF’s office in Agadez, a town near Alikinkin, is supporting 50 community garden projects by helping construct water wells, providing gardening seeds, fertilizer, insecticide, fencing and tools.
The goal is to ensure that village children have access to nutritious foods. The gardens produce tomatoes, onions, carrots, peas, beans, cabbage, potatoes and wheat. (https://www.unicef.org/nutrition/niger_28266.html)