The Edible is Political: Experiential Education as a Means of Engaging Children in Improving Health and Society
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This paper will examine public health, specifically children’s health, farm to cafeteria initiatives, and school garden programs at the national level, in the state of Michigan, and more specifically, the city of Kalamazoo. It would be beneficial for programs such as these to include a service-learning component because this would allow participants to influence community practices by spreading their knowledge as well as developing a sense of civic duty and efficacy among students. To this end, an examination of experiential education, service-learning, and best practices for programs around the country that address children’s health will be provided. Finally, a comprehensive evaluation of the Club Grub after-school program at Woodward elementary school in Kalamazoo will be provided to help explore the benefits and barriers of implementing the kind of program being proposed. In order to successfully implement such programs, many changes must be made. Thus it is important to understand the current situation of public health as it relates to food access for America’s youth, as well as programs already in place that address children’s health.