by David Rosenfield, The Beach Reporter
More than 150 volunteers recently harvested vegetables, pulled weeds and replanted seeds at nine school gardens across the Redondo Beach Unified School District.
The volunteer day was organized by Beach Cities Health District which spearheaded the implementation of school gardens back in 2007 and the district's Live Well Kids program. Since then, it's been up to a group of volunteer docents, mostly parents, who maintain the gardens across nine elementary school campuses along with the kids.
"It’s a great way to get them involved in actually learning about nutrition and learning how to read food labels," said Megan Vixie, BCHD human resources director.
There is evidence the program is actually working to lower rates of obesity, Vixie said. When the program first started, the district had a 20 percent obesity rate, which was above average. Now, RNUSD has an 8 percent obesity rate among its students.
"The numbers are really dropping and it's amazing," Vixie said. "It's a true testament to all the great work our volunteers are doing as well."
On a Thursday morning, volunteers fanned out to area grade schools. Caroline Cueter was among about 20 volunteers from local restaurants at Alta Vista Elementary School harvesting zucchini and basil for a summer salad. Cueter joined fellow coworkers at Fishing with Dynamite, Manhattan Beach Post and the Arthur J.
"We just all believe it's really good to give back to the community no matter what the activity is," Cueter said. "Being part of a huge restaurant group, food is really important to us, especially where it comes from. We have great relationships with all of our farmers. It’s really great to help a program that helps kids see from garden to plate, that whole process."
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