A hot day in the garden: Hy-Vee wraps up third year of SproutsPublished 6:47am Thursday, August 29, 2013
With a hefty Ziploc bag — and a growing knowledge about the benefits of fruits and vegetables — Jerret Kriehn nabbed a few of his garden favorites before it was too late.
It was the last day of the Hy-Vee Sprouts: Get Out and Grow program, which was held every Wednesday for 10 weeks this summer at the Hy-Vee garden. Jerret is 5, but like other students in the program, he has taken home some valuable lessons to share with the family. Hy-Vee dietitian Jen Haugen, who heads the program, can attest to that.
“I’ve heard parents actually say, ‘Hey, my kid requested that we have more whole grains today,” she said.
In fact, it was Jerret’s mom who told Haugen about her son’s request — an unusual one from a 5-year-old, but inspiring nonetheless. On Wednesday, Jerret scoured the gardens for a few more goodies before Sprouts wrapped up its third year. A cantaloupe, a few green beans — there were plenty of options, all of them good.
“I like tomatoes,” Kriehn said. “And I like cucumbers, too.”
Across the garden, other children put the finishing touches on their creations. Team Carrot from the YMCA made healthy quesadillas, while Team Tomato from Kids Korner made super-food salads. Throughout the summer, nearly 100 children in the program focused on cancer-fighting ingredients.
“The cancer-fighting ingredient comes from the fact we partner with The Hormel Institute,” Haugen said.
After three seasons of teaching gardening, nutrition and urging youngsters to make healthful choices, organizers are finding the right formula. Children have created posters, completed educational exercises, shopped for nutritious groceries and even learned simple culinary skills. The program hasn’t been a fluke, and may continue to make improvements each year.
“I think we are really fine-tuning and focusing on how we can get our kids healthier,” Haugen said.