Meadville Tribune

National News

September 21, 2012

To teach kids about food, put planters in the playground

The slogan "Think Different" has become a mantra for a generation of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. So when high-tech-millionaire-turned-restaurateur Kimbal Musk envisioned a network of Learning Gardens for public schools, he didn't settle for the usual framed, raised beds.

Instead, he thought of swooping, curved planters made of food-grade plastic, each with an irrigation system tucked away inside: a "product" that could be replicated quickly, at relatively affordable prices.

Product is not a word usually associated with organic temples of experiential learning. But like chef-restaurateur Alice Waters, who launched the American school-garden craze 15 years ago in Berkeley, Calif., Musk, 39, says such gardens are essential to reversing obesity, which now afflicts one in three American children.

According to the Journal of American Dietetics, sixth-grade students involved in a garden-based nutrition education program increased their fruit and vegetable consumption by 2.5 servings per day, more than doubling their overall consumption. A class of fifth-graders who participated in garden-based lessons scored 15 points higher on science tests than students who learned in a traditional classroom.

"For me, there's no point unless we are reaching a critical mass of people," says Musk. "It's not that small projects aren't doing good things. If you serve four schools, you can feel very good about yourself. . . . The only way to solve the problem is to reach all of America's 100,000 schools."

Musk's first step toward mass-producing school gardens is to install 60 Learning Gardens in Chicago, 60 in his home state of Colorado and 60 more across the country over the next year. An announcement with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the city's schools chief, Jean-Claude Brizard, could come as soon as Thursday, depending on the city's teachers' strike.

Text Only
National News
  • Obama targets college sexual assault epidemic

    President Barack Obama is launching an initiative to combat sexual assault on college campuses, turning the spotlight on a problem that has devastated millions of Americans yet rarely receives such White House attention.

    January 26, 2014

  • screenshot snow.jpg VIDEO: Big storm threatens Thanksgiving travel

    A major storm forced more than 300 flights to be cancelled in Dallas-Fort Worth on Sunday. It is also blamed for hundreds of traffic accidents. The storm is bringing snow, sleet and ice across the US ahead of the Thanksgiving weekend.

    November 25, 2013 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2013-11-21 at 1.43.18 PM.png When Black Friday madness takes a tragic turn

    As Black Friday bleeds into Thanksgiving Day, the frenzy surrounding one of the busiest shopping days of the year has grown and, in some instances, led to violence or even deaths. Here is a look at some recent incidents that have marred one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

    November 25, 2013 1 Photo

  • screenshot travel.jpg VIDEO: Holiday travel costs down this year

    Traveling this Thanksgiving? Prepare to be stuffed along the way. Forty-three million people are expected to make the annual pilgrimage to the dinner table. Travel experts say costs are down this year and volume is expected to be high.

    November 22, 2013 1 Photo

  • iStock_000023490405XSmall.jpg Old-school toys dominate holiday lists

    There are two requests Don Mahoney, otherwise known as Santa Claus, keeps getting day after day: Barbies and Legos.

    November 22, 2013 1 Photo

  • Nurses in Mass. want to limit number of patients

    Nurses in this state are trying to get support for a ballot initiative that would limit the number of patients they can treat at one time.

    November 15, 2013

  • What it's like to have your food stamps cut?

    On Nov. 1, the largest cuts in the history of our country's food stamp program, now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, went into effect when the increase ordained by the 2009 economic stimulus package expired.

    November 15, 2013

  • 082313obama1.jpg Obama's Gallup approval rating hits new low

    President Barack Obama's rating in the daily Gallup poll has fallen to its lowest level since October 2011 as his administration continues to be tarnished by the rocky debut of his health-care program.

    November 5, 2013 1 Photo

  • screenshot healthcare.jpg 5 myths about the Affordable Care Act

    As the debate surrounding the Affordable Care Act continues, let's look at some of the most persistent myths about the law — and some new ones that have cropped up.

    November 1, 2013 1 Photo

  • news_cruz.jpg Cruz remains unapologetic as senior Republicans criticize shutdown

    Sen. Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican who was among the architects of the 16-day partial federal government shutdown, remained unrepentant as senior members of his party criticized his tactics in fighting President Obama's health care reform.

    October 21, 2013 1 Photo

Business Marquee
AP Video
Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks