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BMI was assessed using self-reported weight in kilograms divided by self-reported height in meters squared, and self-reported health was obtained using a question from the Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System CDC In addition, the survey included two closed-ended questions about 1 distribution of excess produce from the garden to others and 2 benefits of gardening, including meeting with friends and family, fresh air, exercise, stress release and the exchange of ideas with program leaders and other gardeners.

Gardeners were also asked to write down their favorite things about gardening and to list the crops grown in their garden, starting with the ones they grow the most. We assessed vegetable intake with a question from the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program EFNEP food behavior checklist and used color visuals instead of text to improve readability Townsend et al.

Participants reported their usual vegetable intake in cups per day. Study participants may have over reported the quantity of vegetables they consumed on a daily basis and when eating from the garden.

Bias of over reporting and having no control group are weaknesses of this pilot project. Descriptive data was summarized as mean and standard deviations, and compared using student t-tests for continuous data between the two groups and chi-square analysis for categorical variables. The two study groups also differed in their years of experience as gardeners.

The home gardeners in this survey were relatively inexperienced because one of the goals of LMV is to train novice gardeners. There was no difference in BMI between the two groups of gardeners table 1most of whom were overweight.

Kindergarten readiness: Social and emotional development - MSU Extension

Comparison of home and community gardeners in San Jose, — Effect on vegetable intake One summer day's harvest from the demonstration garden located at Sacred Heart Community Service in San Jose. Both home and community gardeners doubled their vegetable intake to an average of 4 cups per day during the peak of the summer growing season. In spite of their demographic differences, the two groups increased their vegetable consumption to a similar extent when eating from their gardens 1.

Prior to harvesting vegetables from the garden, average intake of vegetables was 2. Average intake doubled to 4. When eating from their gardens, both groups met the U.

Dietary Guidelines that recommend adults consume 2. In interviews, gardeners elaborated on the ways in which the vegetables they grew fit into their diet. Many LMV members said they joined the home garden program to increase their vegetable intake. One woman reported that as a result of her home garden, she ate more produce during the main production season while canning and freezing the excess production for later.

Kindergarten readiness: Social and emotional development

Several LMV members also described how gardening influenced their food choices, leading them to select healthier foods and reduce fast food consumption.

Community gardeners commented on the high quality of their produce, indicating that their vegetables tasted much better than store-bought vegetables. One LMV participant reported that without the savings and direct access to healthy produce generated from eating homegrown vegetables, the previous year would have been a significant struggle.

Her garden significantly supplemented her diet, providing food to which she would otherwise have had very limited access. Garden crops By growing and eating culturally favorite fruits and vegetables, gardeners may maintain connections to cultural or family traditions. The most common crops grown by community gardeners were tomatoes regular and cherrypeppers, green beans and cucumbers.

Crops given to the LMV families to grow as part of the program included tomatoes regular and cherrypeppers, beans, basil, zucchini, radishes, cucumbers and eggplants.

Culturally favorite foods were also grown in both community and home gardens, including chayote, bitter melon, goji berries, green tomatoes, fava beans, okra, collards and various Asian vegetables, such as bok choy and mustards. By growing and eating these foods, gardeners may maintain connections to family or cultural traditions; they may also gain access to desired foods that are either not available or are perceived to be too expensive or of poor quality at local retail outlets.

Community garden members gave excess produce to other gardeners, whereas home gardeners were more likely to give excess away at work and to neighbors.

Some gardeners reported trading vegetables for other food, often from a neighbor's garden. When asked why excess production was often shared with neighbors and friends, a community gardener stated that the garden allowed her to grow food for the table and neighbors.

One home gardener said that by showing neighbors how fresh and good homegrown vegetables were, she might convince neighbors to garden. The majority of LMV participants who had helped neighbors to start gardens said they did so because they wanted to share their experiences with eating more fruits and vegetables.

Additional benefits The top three benefits reported by home gardeners in the LMV program were getting out in the fresh air, stress release and instruction in gardening basics. Open-ended interviews and survey responses indicated other benefits as well. For instance, gardening led LMV participants to spend more time with family members: Several home gardeners explained that gardening made them feel part of a community; they described developing a network of fellow gardeners through the workshops and services offered by LMV and connecting with their neighbors by sharing produce, work and knowledge about gardening.

When asked how gardens would change the neighborhood, one participant replied that houses with gardens would look less abandoned. Community gardeners said their top benefits were exercise, meeting with friends and learning from other gardeners. Open-ended survey responses of community gardeners also emphasized the feelings of community and sharing they experienced when working in the garden. Gardeners appreciated spending time with neighbors, friends and family in their gardens; these interactions were a source of happiness, friendship and learning.

The community gardeners also saw their gardens as a source of healthy food, reporting that their gardens gave them the opportunity to have food that was fresh, organic and more nutritional than its store-bought counterpart. Learning about gardening as a family was emphasized by the home gardeners, whereas learning about gardening from garden leaders and friends was stressed by those using community garden plots.

Similarly, other studies have shown that community gardens provide a space and activity around which to socialize and develop social networks Carney et al. Increasing vegetable consumption The results of this small pilot study indicate that both community and home gardeners substantially increased their vegetable intake when eating from their gardens.

The findings from this research — which, to our knowledge, is the first to obtain data on the number of portions of vegetables consumed by gardeners when they are eating from their gardens — are consistent with other studies of the nutritional impacts of gardening.

A recent study analyzing the output of a model raised bed garden designed for a family of four found that it produced 2. A study of home and community gardeners in Denver, Colorado, found that gardeners ate fruits and vegetables more times per day than non-gardeners Litt et al. Gardening has been associated with a healthier diet and lower BMIs Alaimo et al.

Although participants in our study were overweight, the majority reported good to excellent health. In a previous study of LMV, program participants said they had changed their eating habits and were incorporating more fruits and vegetables into their diet while reducing fast food consumption Gray et al.

A Philadelphia study demonstrated that gardeners consumed more vegetables such as dark leafy greens and fewer sweet foods and drinks than did non-gardeners Blair et al. Further research on the nutritional intake of gardeners is needed to demonstrate whether they have a healthier diet overall. In this study, participants reported growing cultural or ethnic foods such as bok choy, gogi berries, chayote and green tomatoes. This is the first of five articles exploring these critical skills children need to be Kindergarten ready.

May 2, - Author: Carrie ShrierMichigan State University Extension Children's emotional and behavioral adjustment is important for their chances of early school success. Is my child ready for Kindergarten? What do they have to know to be successful?

What can I do to help my child do well in school? The five essential areas of school readiness are: This first article will focus on social and emotional development. What is social and emotional development? Why is this link so strong? Simply put, we know that learning is a social process. Children cannot learn when they are struggling to follow directions, get along with their peers and control their emotions in a classroom setting. When children struggle with these skills, they are more likely to have social troubles at school, resorting to inappropriate expressions of frustrations such as hitting, biting and screaming.

The key social and emotional skills identified for school success, as outlined in Dr.