Take It Home
Most parents know a healthy diet is important for their child's development. What many don't know is that the healthiest diet is also the one that's best for the planet. Help your students' parents get in the know by giving them easy tips for making changes in their diet.
The Dirty Dozen
Conventionally grown food can have chemical pesticide residues. Pesticides have been linked to a variety of health impacts, and kids are most vulnerable. You can easily reduce a child's exposure to these chemicals by avoiding produce that typically has high levels of residue and choosing those with low levels instead. In a 2003 study published in Environmental Health Perspectives, schoolchildren were tested for pesticides in their bodies. Those who ate an organic diet had one-sixth the amount compared to those who ate a conventionally grown diet. When you want one of the most frequently contaminated foods, select an organically grown product instead.
Twelve Most Contaminated
Twelve Least Contaminated
This list is from a study conducted by the Environmental Working Group based on U.S. government data. Learn more at www.beyondpesticides.org.
Organic Gardening at Home
Growing your own food is rewarding, and it saves money, too! Encourage parents to embrace Earth-friendly farming at home. Whether it's a gar-den in the yard or simply a few plants in pots on a windowsill, it's a great experience for the whole family. Here are a few tips:
Earth-friendly gardening means ditching the chemicals. Instead of using pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, find natural ways to eliminate pests and build nutrient-rich soil.
Save space by using vertical gardening techniques. If you have limited space in your yard, grow things up instead of out. For example, produce that grows on a vine can grow up on trellises if you help it along. The same techniques can be used for deck or indoor gardening (although indoor plants may need the help of a grow light).
Save water by collecting rainwater. Do you have indoor or outdoor plants that you need to water regularly? Instead of using tap or hose water, collect rainwater. If you own a home with gutters, place a barrel at the bottom of a downspout. You can also buy rain barrels that have a spigot you can attach a hose to. If you live in an apartment or condo with a fire escape or deck, you could leave buckets out during a storm. Get creative!
Go to www.organicgardening.com for more information and advice on how to incorporate Earth-friendly practices into your life and your students' home lives.