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School farm turns green thumbs into healthy bodies

The schools are partnering with the National Gardening Association to have children plant, grow, maintain and harvest their own fruits and vegetables in an on-campus garden.

LANGLEY, Wash. -- Snack time at South Whidbey Elementary School is more like feeding time at the farm. The kids are so excited to eat they actually graze, chewing on plants that are still rooted in the ground.

"I'm a deer!" said eight-year-old Elsa Layman as she nibbled on a kale flower. "They taste like they have honey at the bottom of them."

The students are happily devouring things many parents would never believe: broccoli, kale, even a flower that tastes like an onion. Not only are they eating it, but they're also growing it in a school garden.

The garden is part of a partnership between the South Whidbey schools, lunch provider Chartwells K12, and the National Gardening Association. Students in kindergarten through 12th grade grow their own produce, learning where healthy food comes from. Then they serve it up in the school cafeteria.

The children grow connected to their food. Studies show those students are more likely to make better eating choices in the future. Perhaps the best part for parents is it's all being done without mom or dad ever having to shout, "eat your vegetables" to their children.

"If a parent asks a kid to try something they'll say they don't like it," said farm program manager Cary Peterson. "If a kid says, 'Try it. It's really good!' the kids can't get enough."