Health Promotion Council’s GREENS program creates and expands edible gardens, and provides nutrition and physical activity education at schools and community sites in low-income communities in Philadelphia. Through GREENS, we help families move from awareness about healthy eating concepts to adoption of healthy eating habits. We achieve this by teaching them how to grow fruits and vegetables, eat healthy meals, and be physically active at home and at school. This kind of education builds the capacity of children and families to develop and sustain healthy habits, participate in healthy lifestyle activities as a family, and maintain gardens in their schools and communities. It also increases participants’ knowledge and awareness about ways to incorporate physical activity, as well as the likelihood that they will include physical activity into their week.
Since the program’s inception, HPC has successfully worked with school and community partners to create and sustain edible gardens, and implement family-oriented programming to support healthy eating and physical activity. Thousands of children from across our school network, along with their caregivers, have participated in the garden-based nutrition programming through GREENS, and many experienced gardening for the first time. Further, families overwhelmingly reported higher levels of knowledge and interest in healthy food choices and physical activity following workshop participation.