Edible Landscaping

Charlie says… Grow More Fruit Trees

Letting kids climb trees is a fun way for them to exercise.

First Lady Michele Obama has recently started a campaign called Let's Move to help combat childhood obesity. It’s a great idea and much needed. Childhood obesity rates have tripled in the last 30 years. Some states have rates exceeding 33%! Whether you attribute the problem to a sedentary lifestyle based on using television, computers, cell phones, and video games, the fear of letting kids out to play, or poor diet, the reality is kids need to eat better and move more.

Well, I’ve got a suggestion for how families can encourage their kids to move, exercise, and eat better. Grow more full-sized, standard fruit trees. One of the fondest memories I have as a kid is going down the street with my cousins to my grandfather Rocco’s farm and climbing his apple, pear, and cherry trees to pick the fruit. While the fruit was good, actually, the climbing was most of the fun. Climbing trees was daring and thrilling. The fruit was the prize for our efforts. I can’t remember the last time I saw neighborhood kids climbing trees. It seems we are so fear conscious of our kids getting hurt that we don't allow them to be kids anymore. Climbing trees strengthens muscles, teaches balance, and helps overcome fear. Plus, if you’re growing a fruit tree, there is the bonus of harvesting nutritious, healthful, fresh fruit to eat, preserve, and share.

So, we should rethink the move to grow shorter, more dwarf fruit trees and institute a national day of fruit tree planting to get more trees in yards. This will allow future generations to learn the joys of tree climbing and eating fresh fruit. Michele, I’m ready to volunteer to get it started. Just give me a call!

School Garden Grants, Fun Activities, Lessons and more at - www.kidsgardening.org

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