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Bunche Academy students get their hands dirty

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Planting gardens improve kids’ attitudes toward fruits and vegetables

DETROIT — Bunche Academy in Detroit planted the first American Heart Association Teaching Garden in the state of Michigan as part of an education initiative to help build healthy bodies and minds. The school was selected based on various factors including geographic location, community need and school commitment.

“This is the first step in helping urban students get a feel of what it’s like working in a garden and witnessing the process of growing fruits and vegetables,” said Paul Bryant, teacher at Bunche Academy. “This experience is something students can learn now and can incorporate into their children’s lives.”

According to Stefanie Worth, senior community health director for the American Heart Association, African Americans have the highest rate of blood pressure in the world. “Consequently, they are twice as likely to suffer from a stroke,” she said. “Our hope is that this current generation that’s not expected to live as long as adults will be able to live longer if we teach them better.”

The Teaching Garden program combines nutrition education with garden-based learning. It is a real-life laboratory where students learn how to plant seeds, nurture growing plants, harvest produce and ultimately understand the value of good eating habits.

“The American Heart Association Teaching Garden is about learning healthy behaviors and exercising more,” Worth said. “Our hope is that the students take that information home to their families and teach them how to live better.”

For more information, contact Bryant at 313.494.8350 or visit www.takepart.com/teachinggarden

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