Nonprofit builds ‘learning gardens’ to teach kids healthy eating habits

World Today

Childhood obesity is a serious problem around the world. In the U.S. alone, 18-percent of Americans under the age of 30 are obese. That’s according the country’s leading health protection agency. One entrepreneur is trying to help children eat healthier.

CGTN’s Hendrik Sybrandy reports.

One man in Denver, Colorado has won a shiny prize after donating $10 to a fundraising platform for charities. He now has a new, Tesla Model 3.

Kimbal Musk, it was a small price to pay for the $2 million raised in a recent online contest. That money will help pay for outdoor learning gardens.

Musk runs Big Green, a nonprofit that builds gardens at low-income schools across America. It’s installed 500 of them in six U.S. cities over the past six years.

“It is our duty as a society to give our kids an understanding of what their options really are, understand what real food is,” Musk said.

These gardens are modular creations, made of recyclable polyethylene, in which an assortment of fruits and vegetables can be grown. Musk said it’s a way of introducing students to a healthier way of eating.

“We come up with ways to tie it into the curriculum, so that they’re using the garden all the time as an outdoor classroom,” he explained.

Entrepreneurship runs in the Musk family. Kimbal’s worked in Silicon Valley, and his brother Elon founded SpaceX and Tesla.

“My brother loves what we do. […] He and I have cooked together forever and it’s just been one of the joys of how we’ve connected. And so for me now to bring this to kids across the country, it warms my heart,” he shared.

Musk said food from learning gardens, sold to restaurants, also teaches students business skills. He knows the gardens won’t magically change diets overnight.

Big Green hopes to have 1,000 learning gardens in place in the U.S. by 2020.