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Texan youngsters encouraged to grow their own food

School children in Austin, Texas, are being encouraged to grow their own food and eat healthily in a bid to tackle the nationwide problem of obesity, greenhouse enthusiasts might be interested to hear.

The School Garden Grant Program, set up by the Whole Kids Foundation in partnership with FoodCorps, is designed to help schools encourage students to be more adventurous with their food by growing their own produce.

Some 1,000 schools will be offered grants of $2,000 as well as curriculum resources to mentor young children about the finer points of vegetable gardening.

Whole Kids Foundation board chairman Walter Robb believes that children will build up a greater appreciation of where food comes from by gardening.

"The School Garden Grant Program makes nutritious foods and healthy-eating education relevant and exciting for kids, and it extends learning outside the classroom," he claimed.

FoodCorps executive director Curt Ellis said he was delighted that children will discover the joys of growing food, while establishing long-term healthy-eating habits as a result of the program.

According to research from the UC Davis Center for Nutrition in Schools, access to a school garden enhances academic achievement and improves social skills.