Many adolescents have developed unhealthy eating habits and eat few or no fruits and vegetables on an average school day. According to the Oregon Department of Human Services, only 18% of 11th graders in Oregon consumed the recommended 5+ servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Our children and adolescents are constantly exposed to fast-food commercials, snack and soda vending machines, and other unhealthy calorie-rich snack foods.
We need to find a way to teach our adolescents to make food choices that will nurture their bodies and help them stay healthy. There is no quick-fix for unhealthy eating habits, including the overconsumption of calories, but through a school garden we might get adolescents into another kind of relationship with food by teaching them where their food comes from, the value of eating healthy foods, how to respect and take care of their environment, and the nurturing effects of preparing and eating a meal together with families and friends at the table. In addition, studies have found positive impacts of school gardens on eating and exercise behaviors as well as improved academic performance and attitudes towards learning.
To address this, the Linus Pauling Institute's Healthy Youth Program partnered with Corvallis High School (CHS) to develop a school garden that will be maintained by the high school students throughout the school year. The garden is located on an empty lot south of the football field and the track.