STRATFORD — The Stratford Health Department launched a daycare gardening program this summer using funds from a Stratford Rotary Club grant. The health department was awarded $5,800 in March from the Community Impact Grant program, which is given to organizations with goals to enhance the community.

Eight Stratford daycare centers that had completed a program centered around childhood nutrition — the Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care — were selected to take part in the pilot gardening program.

The daycares were given money to buy gardening materials such as soil, seeds and starter plants as well as tools for the children such as gardening gloves, shovels and rakes.

“The overall goal (of the program) is to reduce and prevent childhood obesity through promoting healthy food and physical activity,” said Kelley Meier, a health educator at the Stratford Health Department.

In addition to providing daycare centers with the funds needed to start their gardens, the health department also developed a garden curriculum to teach children the value of where their food comes from, how to nurture the plants they are growing and the importance of trying fruits and vegetables.

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