Earlier this month the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, had the opportunity to visit Lindblom Math & Science Academy. Dr. Murthy visited the school because the students and teachers there are making a conscious choice to promote healthy living and the school garden is at the center of their efforts.

It was a beautiful, sunny November day, ideal conditions to tour the school greenhouse and see the aquaponics lab and flourishing banana and avocado trees. The students then took Dr. Murthy out to see their outdoor garden, where he was excited to participate in Lindblom’s first-ever “Eat What You Grow” harvest.

This type of innovative program, one that lets students grow their own produce, is really important because we know that engaging students in the growing, harvesting and preparing of fresh vegetables can greatly influence their future food choices. Children who have access to school gardens develop a liking for the foods they grow and are more likely to eat these fruits and vegetables on a regular basis. That’s why programs like the one at Lindblom, which teaches students that the food they put into their bodies doesn’t come off a shelf, are so important.

The Lindblom Eagles enjoyed having the opportunity to share their garden with the U.S. Surgeon General and having him answer their questions about healthy eating, the dangers of smoking and the importance of exercise.

Dr. Murthy was impressed by his visit to Lindblom. “It was gratifying to hear that the students have taken the knowledge they’ve gained in growing and preparing healthy foods back to their homes and in many cases, are now helping their families integrate fresh fruits and vegetables into their diet,” Dr. Murthy said. “They give me great hope that our next generation of leaders will take seriously the need for nutrition education and a healthy lifestyle. Lindblom is an example to schools around the country and a model for creating school garden programs that will move us toward a healthier America.”