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How Can a School Garden Promote Healthy Eating in South El Monte?

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Possible Location #1: North-West Softball Field off Farmer Ave, Photo by: Vienna Z.
Possible Location #1: North-West Softball Field off Farmer Ave, Photo by: Vienna Z.

Youth Voices is working with students from South El Monte High School to explore El Monte/South El Monte and the surrounding communities. The students have formed teams to explore and investigate their communities, map assets, collect and share stories, data and community input for their projects. All the while they are learning and expanding their knowledge of digital media and civic engagement. Follow their work on social media by using the hashtag #KCETYV.

Team Name:
GreenSleeves

Team Members:
Vienna Z.
Jocelyn R.
Adriana T.
Francisco Z.
Sophia S.
Brenda A.

As we observe our community we see vast number of fast food restaurants in our city that sell cheap processed foods. Our goal for our project is to promote healthy eating through urban agriculture -- and show that eating healthy is possible. The lack of healthy food affects Adults, Teen, and Children in South El Monte. Health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity -- are related to a poor diet and lack of exercise. According to the Public Health Institute, two in six Latino children between ages two and five are obese. In particular, the organization stated that 34.5 percent of South El Monte's children and 29.8 percent of the city's adults are obese. When compared to surrounding cities in the San Gabriel Valley, South El Monte ranks highest in obese residents.

chart_sem_obesity

A good way high school students can better understand healthier food choices is through the creation of a school garden, so the knowledge learned at school can be taken home and shared with the students' families. A school garden could help improve students eating habits by allowing students to learn how to grow fruits and vegetables and even hopefully learn to better cook fresh and healthy foods. We believe a school garden could be a great opportunity for students to learn how to garden. Environmental science students could have hands-on trainings and see what they are leaning in the textbooks. Our long term goal for the garden is to extend its reach to our school's cafeteria and use the fresh produce cultivated in the student and staff meals.

During development stages of our school garden we hope to promote and outreach via social medias such as: Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. The different outlets will help broaden our message and promote healthier food options to all South El Monte residents. We also hope to team up with Earthworks Farm who could better guide us in the creation of a sustainable garden. We also plan to promote and canvas our campus so that we can involve many students and teachers. Hopefully these approaches will help us get our project off the ground and rooted to succeed. Our environmental science teacher, Ms. Bravo, is the adviser for the "Emerald Jewel" a student led club that focuses on helping students become Eco-friendly. We hope to collaborate with the club so that both grow.

Here are some of the proposed sites for our school garden:

Possible Location #2: North-West Softball Field off Farmer Ave, Photo by: Vienna Z.
Possible Location #2: North-West Softball Field off Farmer Ave, Photo by: Vienna Z.

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