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Maximizing Family Resources Through Gardening

Investigators
Short-Azure, Michelle
Institutions
Turtle Mountain Community College
Start date
2010
End date
2014
Objective

Objective 1: To provide educational opportunities through the TMCC Anishinabe Learning,Cultural & Wellness Center to at least 40 families (10 each year) in gardening basics, Native American gardening, food safety, nutrition, food preservation, and weed and pest control to develop family gardens and improve their health choices while creating sustainable food. (This will be measured by participation sign-up sheets, photos, and a survey following the educational activities.)

Objective 2: To provide at least 40 families (10 per year) with assistance in establishing and tending a home garden. (This will be measured by application forms for assistance, photos, sign up sheets, and surveys.)

Objective 3: To provide 80 Head Start children and their families (20 per year) targeted educational services (child focused, parent focused and family focused) related to healthy eating and pre-gardening. (This will be measured by participation in activities including families who become involved in the gardening areas as well as pre and post surveys of participants to assess gains in knowledge.)

Objective 4: To prepare culturally relevant community education materials including 12 brochures (3 each year) and monthly e-newsletters. (This will be measured by the number of materials produced and surveys of participants to assess quality and usability.)

More information

NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY:
The focus area of the project is Native American families with children residing within the boundaries of Rolette County. The project will specifically work with 40 families (10 each year) on gardening, nutrition education and food preservation with an opportunity for additional families to benefit through outreach to Head Start children and their families. The major program area focus will be on Nutrition conveyed through planting gardens, harvesting produce, preparing healthy food from the garden and preservation techniques. This project addresses the national critical need area of Nutrition and preventing childhood obesity. The specific program area of impact is Family and Consumer Science. Turtle Mountain youth are at high risk for childhood obesity and diabetes caused in part by poor diet. At least some of the dietary choices are caused by lack of financial resources which limit family access to healthier vegetables and fruit and lead to a diet high in lower cost starch items. The project will speak to these needs by working with families to encourage increased gardening (which provides a subbenefit of exercise) as well as the health benefits of garden produce and increasing the year around quality of diet by properly preserving garden produce.

APPROACH:
This project builds upon prior efforts at TMCC to support and encourage family gardening as a means to improve family diets and positively affect the financial resources of low income families. Prior efforts focused on family based gardening activities including gardening/ planting workshops, site preparation (tilling) and on-going assistance with garden problems. These projects sought to encourage healthy exercise by involving families in gardens and create fresh produce for family tables. This initiative expands to provide nutrition education, food preparation and food preservation. The project provides the means to gain additional benefits from gardens by incorporating nutrition education, nutrition maximizing cooking and preserving garden produce to increase food stores over winter months. The specific target focus of this project is families with young children as internalization of concepts and ideas has the potential to impact child health, reduce obesity, and make positive long term health gains by creating healthy lifestyles. In the prior efforts, TMCC focused on encouraging gardening among the general population and the impact group ranged from toddlers to the elderly. With the narrowed focus, the project will be able to provide educational services which specifically target young families; parents and children. Specific topic areas to be addressed will include: Gardening Basics. This segment is meant to help participant identify the best practices for planting a garden while also getting beneficial exercise needed to live a healthy lifestyle. Native American Gardening. Participant will be presented with traditional/cultural techniques of preparation, planting, tending, and harvesting. Food Safety and Preservation. Participants will learn safe handling, preparation, and storage of food including vegetables, meat, poultry, and egg products. Nutrition. A licensed nutritionist will present the workshops on proper nutrition to encourage participants to maintain a nutritionally healthy diet. The project will utilize a combination of delivery methods to accomplish its goals. 1) Workshops will provide concentrated assistance to participants in gardening and nutrition. 2) Hands-on-demonstrations will provide opportunities for participants to practice skills with guidance to foster understanding and use of techniques. 3) Continuing technical assistance to focus families will target providing project and home based assistance in planting and tending the gardens to maximize harvest. 4) Outreach to young families will concentrate on Head Start age children with health, nutrition and gardening programs coupled with take home materials related to other project offerings. This component will include at-home activities such as seedlings for home planting and harvested produce for family consumption. 5) Community outreach through the use of project developed culturally oriented brochures and a monthly e-newsletter will provide a combination of awareness of project offerings and educational articles/tips related to gardening and nutrition.

PROGRESS: 2010/09 TO 2011/08
OUTPUTS: Over the past several years, TMCC through the Anishinabe Center has provided support to families on the Turtle Mountain Reservation to address health problems associated with diet and exercise and educate families for greater self-sufficiency in the area of food security through gardening. This project has the same focus; however, there is a narrower focus on the education of younger families with children enrolled in Headstart regarding healthy food choices and a healthy lifestyle. This concerted effort hopes to see the internalization of these concepts in the target group. Objective 1: to provide educational opportunities through the TMCC Anishinabe Learning, Cultural & Wellness Center to at least 40 families (10 each year) in gardening basics, Native American gardening, food safety, nutrition, food preservation, and weed and pest control to develop family gardens and improve their health choices while creating sustainable food. Sign-in sheets and evaluations of the workshops were recorded. Of the 35 families attending these workshops, all had young children, and often included grandparents, aunts, and uncles. This mix of generations reflects strong tradition of the extended family and the importance of including all age groups in the family circle. This objective has been met this year through the above mentioned workshops, newsletters and printed materials. Objective 2: to provide at least 40 families (10 per year) with assistance in establishing and tending a home garden. In March, 2011, The Project Director contacted the Headstart program to recruit families interested in the gardening program. As a result, twenty (20) Headstart families filled out applications for the program. All of the families who applied for the program had tilling completed in order to establish gardens. Objective 3: to provide 80 Headstart children and their families (20) per year targeted educational services (child-focused, parent-focused and family-focused) related to healthy eating and pre-gardening activities. Monthly newsletters were sent home with all the students. Three(3) other activities took place for the Headstart families prior to and during the gardening season including: 1) Mother's Day activity which provided all Headstart students with flower pots with coloring insert, soil and seeds. 2) Garden Pinwheel Activity provided students with a pinwheel craft kit to complete and put in their garden, grandparents garden or flowerbed. 3) Nutritional Information Goody Bags which included a variety of activities and printed materials including brochures, activity books, crayons, Snack Food slide, etc. Objective 4: to prepared culturally relevant community education materials including 12 brochures (3 each year) and monthly e-newsletters. A monthly e-newsletter/newsletter was established and three brochures were developed on topics such as food safety, square foot gardening and container gardening. This newsletter was distributed to all Headstart children and their families. The e-newsletter was also sent through e-mail and placed on the college's website. PARTICIPANTS: In order to accomplish the above objectives, 10 students were hired to work with the various activities throughout the summer. This included basic hands-on gardening in the student garden at Anishinabe (10 students), Conservation Day Camp (150 youth), Youth Leadership Project (10 students), TMCC Academic Readiness Summer Camp (35 students), and "Talking Circles". There are several programs and funding streams at Anishinabe Learning, Cultural and Wellness Center. These various programs and projects assist in supporting each other in order to offer the programs needed by the community. Further, support from other county and state agencies assist in providing additional resources. An example of one of these partnerships is one with North Dakota State University (NDSU) which provides expertise in the areas of soil science, natural resource management and other related subjects. Although these activities are not funded by this project they are made available to the participants of this project to lend more depth to the subject of gardening, nutrition and family health and wellness. Many of the participants from this project have also attended other workshops at the Center. This makes the Center an excellent location for not only reaching but exceeding the objectives of this project. TARGET AUDIENCES: The focus area of the project is Native American families with children residing within the boundaries of Rolette County. The project will specifically work with 10 families in year two on gardening, nutrition education and food preservation with an opportunity for additional families to benefit through outreach to Head Start children and their families. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Not relevant to this project.

Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
Project source
View this project
Project number
NDE-2010-02564
Accession number
223212
Categories
Chemical Contaminants
Food Defense and Integrity
Commodities
Eggs
Meat, Poultry, Game