Small steps to a healthier life
The shutdown from the pandemic last spring forced my family to change our routines and even pick up some new habits and interests. For example, we started cooking dinners together as a family. I started learning more about nutrition and its impact on health.
Around this same time, our close family friend, Jane Cabes, had been diagnosed with cancer. Mrs. Cabes shared with us how proper nutrition can help the body deal with cancer and the medications used to treat it. Her diagnosis also led both of our families to further explore the connection between food and health in general.
For the past five years, the Cabes family and my family have been volunteering at the Small Steps Nurturing Center, a non-profit organization that operates two preschools to provide early education to economically at-risk young children. Sharing our new interest in nutrition with these young children and their families seemed like a natural fit.
With this in mind, my friend, Mary Ann Cabes, and I started the Small Steps Sustainable Gardening Project this past January. Our goal is to build sustainable gardens for current Small Steps families as a healthier-living project. After obtaining funding from generous neighbors and friends in the community, we started planting sustainable gardens at Small Steps families’ homes.
At each home, the Small Steps students help us place the fruit and vegetable plants in the garden. We created a handout with some basic instructions on how to care for the plants as well as a list of online resources. These online videos include fun cooking classes and recipes based on using the vegetables that they were now growing in their own backyard. We also provided a video from a professional gardener explaining how to maintain their garden indefinitely.
Although this is just the start, we hope that this project will help people think a little bit more about the food that we put in our bodies. Hopefully, this small change might eventually lead to bigger changes in the eating habits of these children and our community as a whole.
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