Written by Alexa
Since 2006, the HEAL Project has been educating over 3,200 students within San Mateo County on the importance of good health, a sustainable environment, locally grown agriculture as well as key learning fundamentals. Their long-term goal is to be able to deliver a garden-based education to all children within the district. They follow within a California academic standards science based curriculum complete with their own set of programs. HEAL offers various courses for students including a 34 week HEAL class designed for 2nd and 3rd graders to connect them to their environment, a Garden Club for 4th/5th grade students, and a Summer School Garden Club for grades 1-7. HEAL and the San Mateo Health Department also offers a free, interactive farm program for students. School Farm was first introduced in September of 2010, with the goals of bringing students closer to their environment and a greater appreciation for where their food comes from. Students will visit the farm twice a year, once in the fall to plant and then in the spring to harvest their plants, and take them home to be enjoyed. In 2009, the HEAL Project joined forces with ten regional garden-based educational groups as well as HealthTrust (http://www.healthtrust.org/) to form a new group called the Silicon Valley Health Corps. Together, they help endorse healthier eating as well as physical activity for residents of San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.