Giving Kids a Head Start on Healthy Food and Gardening
The Goldendale Head Start Program in conjunction with the Klickitat County Health Department and the Healthy People Alliance in Southern Washington State, joined forces to start a vegetable garden in the back yard of the Goldendale Head Start facility.
The inspiration for the garden came from Abby Volkmann, a long time friend and teacher at the Head Start facility. Volkmann always wanted the children to have a garden, but she needed the adequate volunteer support. With the help of the Klickitat County Health Department and the Healthy People Alliance in Southern Washington State, they were able to create what is now known as the “Abby Garden.”
In an effort to teach some 77 children in the program about the benefits of healthy food and how to grow simple vegetables, such as squash, corn, onions, carrots and broccoli, the Head Start program, and one driven teacher now have their own garden. The children in the Head Start program also take part in harvesting the food, which is also used for daily meals at the facility. The health and nutritional benefits of the garden also exist outside of Goldendale Head Start. The children get the chance to take some of the vegetables home to their own families to support healthy nutrition. Goldendale Head Start also provides the parents of the program with valuable information on how to start their own home or community gardens as well.
Goldendale Head Start is part of the Mid-Columbia Children’s Council which serves 559 children in Washington and Oregon in Hood River, Klickitat, Skamania, Jefferson and Wasco Counties.