The 2011 Champions of Health and Fitness
Pages in this Story:
- America's Doctor: Regina Benjamin, MD
- Compassionate Medicine: Roseanna Means, MD
- The Wheel Deal: Chris Carney
- Budding Genius: Donna Cavato
- Tough-Love Trainer: Jillian Michaels
- Healing Force: Kathryn Schmitz, PhD
- Class Act: John Skretta
- Action Heroine: Jessica Biel
- Social Networker: Chris Downie
- Food Revolutionary: Jamie Oliver
Budding Genius: Donna Cavato
By Cristina Goyanes
Walk onto the grounds of the Samuel J. Green Charter School in New Orleans and you'll see a big, beautiful organic garden; an outdoor classroom; a composting station; a greenhouse; and a citrus grove. This green oasis, which was once covered with asphalt and flooded with five feet of water after Hurricane Katrina, is Louisiana's first-ever Edible Schoolyard (ESY), an educational gardening program. Nearly five years ago ESY program director Donna Cavato, along with a landscape architect, led a group that included teachers, students, and neighbors in designing the teaching garden. "It was a therapeutic process for the kids to rebuild this campus that wasn't in great shape even before Katrina," Cavato says. The garden now yields about 2,600 pounds of produce every school year. The children regularly work in the garden, and the chef-teachers on Cavato's staff show them how to use the produce they grow to prepare healthy dishes that taste good. The result: Kids who never ate fruits and vegetables now love the cafeteria's salad bar. "Teaching young children the pleasures of enjoying delicious, seasonal foods will have a lifelong impact on their health and happiness," Cavato says.
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