Harvesting History began eight years ago and served 100 children; today, we serve over 1,600 children throughout Columbia, Greene, and Ulster Counties. Students harvest vegetables and herbs, and learn how to transform this produce into delicious and healthy snacks like kale chips, mint tea, or a yogurt dip. Each student receives fresh produce from the garden to bring home as well as the knowledge of how to prepare it. When children learn where their food comes from, how to plant a garden and how to cook nutritious meals, they develop healthy eating habits at a young age. This leads to a reduction in lifelong chronic illness caused by poor diet: obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Introducing children to new fruits and vegetables using basic recipes can put them on track to make smarter food choices for life. These choices can impact their entire family’s eating habits.
Harvesting History is always provided to children and organizations completely free of charge. In recent years, we have expanded our teaching garden, incorporated lessons about climate science, and introduce students to other disciplines, including art, creative writing, meteorology, entomology, and more.
One of the biggest challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic presented to our programs is that it proved far more difficult for children to visit the Harvesting History Teaching Garden. Whereas previously, we welcomed youth to Clermont, the pandemic forced us to adapt most of our programs to occur virtually or off-site. In an effort to maintain the teaching garden as a means of nourishing the community, we decided to grow vegetables, fruits, and herbs not only for our educational programs, but to feed our neighbors in need. In 2020 and 2021 we donated hundreds of pounds of fresh produce to local food banks.
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