St. Luke’s University Health Network’s athletic trainers and the St. Luke’s Community Health and Preventive Medicine (CHPM) Department recently partnered to get local school gardens in shape and ready for the new school year.
In August, teams of St. Luke’s CHPM and Sports Medicine employees participated in “School Garden Community Day,” during which they tended to the gardens at elementary schools in Allentown, Bangor, Bethlehem and Nesquehoning, Pa., and in Phillipsburg, N.J. During the event, the employees picked produce, weeded, mulched, repaired the raised garden boxes and reinforced fencing.
The school gardens are part of a St. Luke’s CHPM partnership project with the Kellyn Foundation which serves multiple purposes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. Furthermore, the latest St. Luke’s Community Health Needs Assessment data revealed that only about one of every 10 people consumes the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables. Eating fruits and vegetables must improve in our communities to become healthier and prevent chronic diseases.
School gardens–which St. Luke’s has incorporated into its “Adopt a School” community health efforts–are an effective way to use the schoolyard as a classroom and reconnect students with the natural world and the true source of their food.
School gardens also help to teach children valuable gardening and agricultural concepts as well as skills that integrate with several academic subjects. When children are able to grow their own vegetables, they are more likely to eat them.
Through this program and its associated projects like the “School Garden Community Day,” St. Luke’s goal is to bring fresh produce into the hands of the community members they serve to make healthy eating the easy and affordable choice.
The following are the school gardens that participated in the 2019 “School Garden Community Day”:
Allentown School gardens:
- Cleveland Elementary
- McKinley Elementary
- Union Terrace Elementary
Bangor School Garden:
- Five Points Elementary
Bethlehem School Gardens:
- Donegan Elementary
- Fountain Hill Elementary
- Marvine Elementary
- William Penn Elementary
Panther Valley School Garden:
- Panther Valley Elementary
Phillipsburg School Garden:
- Phillipsburg Elementary
Note: This local health news is brought to you in partnership with St. Luke’s University Health Network.