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Gardening Provides Benefits for the Entire Family

Alyssa Carlson, Graduate Research Assistant, NDSU

Not only does it produce fresh, healthful foods to incorporate into family meals and snacks, but gardening also a way to be physically active. Gardening is educational, allows children to develop new skills and is a time for family bonding.

Having a garden makes healthful fruits and vegetables readily available. Research shows that children who participate in school gardening programs eat more fruits and vegetables. Children are more likely to enjoy eating produce if it’s from plants they’ve cared for and watched grow.

Gardening consists of an assortment of activities: digging soil, planting seeds, watering plants, carrying pots and tools, weeding and harvesting produce when it’s ready. These activities require a variety of muscle groups. Leg work (walking, squatting and crouching) and arm work (digging, pulling and carrying heavy objects) make gardening a good source of physical activity for children and adults.

Gardening gives children the chance to enjoy and appreciate the outdoors. Children will learn about the science of plants, animals and the environment around them. They’ll also learn about nutrition and where fresh foods come from.

Children can develop important skills by planting and tending to a garden. They will learn cooperation and teamwork from working in the garden with the whole family. They’ll also learn responsibility by overseeing and caring for living plants and increase their self-confidence by growing their own fruits and vegetables successfully.

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