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Our View: Learning from nature




There is an old expression that goes, "If you cut your own firewood, it will warm you twice." 


The same can be said for a new project at Palmer Home for Children in Columbus. A group of 15 children at the home will plant, tend, harvest and prepare a variety of vegetables this summer. 


By summer's end, the kids will have been fed twice: body and mind. 


While the Palmer Home has long operated a nursery, this summer the focus will shift from the seasonal flowers the home retails to the community to food crops meant for their own consumption. The home is partnering with the Mississippi State University Extension Service for what it calls an "agricultural literacy" program. 


We believe this is a wonderful idea. 


While teaching nutrition is hardly a novel concept, taking those lessons outdoors, where theory becomes practice, is almost certain to inspire kids to learn more about the foods they eat, how they can be prepared to support a healthy lifestyle and even how growing one's own food can be a real boost to the pocketbook. 


For decades across rural America, families routinely raised their own food, most often out of necessity. Yet, with the emergence of preservatives that allowed foods to be stored, shipped and consumed long after they were harvested -- along with the migration to more urban areas -- food has become simply another consumer purchase. The nation became ignorant about much of the foods it consumed -- how it was grown and tended, processed, preserved and packaged. 


Fortunately, today we see that trend reversing as we understand the benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables and how heavily-processed and preserved foods are often robbed of much of their nutritional value. 


We are pleased to see that here, in the most obese state in the nation, projects such as this are becoming more prevalent throughout our state. 


This summer, those Palmer home kids will be learning lessons to last a lifetime. 


It figures to be tasty lesson, too.



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