UC Cooperative Extension specialists in nutrition and youth scientific literacy worked with graduate and undergraduate students, and the director of the School Gardening Program to develop a garden-based nutrition curriculum for the school-based Shaping Healthy Choices Program (SHCP). The Discovering Healthy Choices curriculum utilizes inquiry-based approaches and experiential learning. The lessons help youth understand nutrition concepts (e.g., how nutrients support and maintain health) and learn to make evidence-based food choices (e.g., comparing food labels). The program includes hands-on garden-based activities and addresses California Common Core State Standards in math and language arts. Students who participated in Discovering Healthy Choices activities as part of the SHCP demonstrated a measurable increase in nutrition knowledge. The curriculum is currently under review by the California Department of Education, Healthy Kids Resource Center and will be made available to elementary schools, the UC CalFresh Program, and the California 4-H Youth Development Program.
Shaping Healthy Choices Program