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Ocean Knoll Students Get a Fresh Take on Nutrition

Students there were recently treated to leafy greens they harvested.

If you think kids and veggies don’t mix, think again. The students at Ocean Knoll Elementary School are proof that children can, in fact, learn to love the green stuff. Just ask third-grader Kaya Singleton. 

“I think kids who don’t like vegetables are not being very adventurous, and if they tried them, they would like them,” she says.

That’s music to the ears of Ocean Knoll Principal Angelica Lopez. For several months she’s been part of a team working to bring kids at her school to that very conclusion. 

Through a joint effort with the Sage Garden Project, Healthy Day Partners, and the Encinitas Union School District’s Food Services, the children at Ocean Knoll were able to grow vegetables in a garden on their campus. Wednesday afternoon, students got to enjoy the fruits — or rather, vegetables — of their labors: The salad bar at the school cafeteria that day featured the approximately 20 pounds of lettuce they harvested, and kale chips made from the leafy greens their green thumbs were also responsible for.  

“The best way to get kids involved in healthy eating is to involve them in the process from the seed to the table,” explains Kevin La Pittus, Director of Encinitas Union School District’s Food Services. “In this age group, they’re still developing their likes and dislikes, so we can have a positive impact.”

“It's great to see what can happen when you combine a district that is committed to bringing the best education to their students with a school that provides garden-based learning experiences,” adds Mim Michelove, co-founder of Healthy Day Partners and an Ocean Knoll parent. “This equation gives children the power to avoid being included in the obesity and type 2 diabetes epidemic while developing the tools to be responsible for their health, now and in the future. The kids can be proud of growing their skills…and a great lunch!"

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Walter March 17, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Does EUSD feed its students government pink slime? http://yourlife.usatoday.com/health/story/2012-03-16/Pink-slime-to-be-dropped-from-some-school-lunches/53564888/1
Ecomim March 17, 2012 at 04:30 PM
The Sage Garden Project is in its first year at Ocean Knoll. With the support of the school itself, Encinitas Union School District and Nutrition Services, they have reached this milestone of children growing food for their own school lunches before spring is even official! I can not imagine a better success story for healthy food education in our community!
Marianne March 18, 2012 at 01:03 AM
I'm so happy for this focus at our school...healthy food, wellness, exercise, preparing the mind to learn..growing the whole child and preparing them for a lifestyle of good habits for a long, productive life. Thanks to everyone who works so hard to bring this to the kids.
Foodie March 22, 2012 at 04:53 PM
It's great to hear about the GOOD things districts and schools are doing for our kids for a change. To much focus on negativity and the bad, but districts, schools and their employees are making a difference each and every day! Kudos to Ocean Knoll, EUSD and the Child Nutrition Department!

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