Herbal garden reconnects community with the health benefits of plants
|PHOTO | SARAH FEDELE|
|Students at North Carolina A&T State University have created an herb garden to learn how to grow plants and their nutritional benefits.|
GREENSBORO – A community herb garden in Greensboro helps students and community members reconnect with plants and stay healthy by learning to cook with fresh herbs.
Research shows that households who participate in a community garden regularly eat more fruits and vegetables than those who do not.
Odile Huchette, a horticultural lecturer and director of Reid Greenhouse in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Design at North Carolina A&T State University, said so far that her students have planted over 50 different types of grasses and worked with a chef to learn how to cook with them.
She added that herbs are a great way to learn how to use what you can grow to keep your body healthy.
âBecause they’re such a diverse bunch and they have all of these different flavors and smells,â Huchette said. âThis makes them very interesting plants to work with. They can be grown in containers in urban spaces, there is no need to have large gardens.
The work was supported by a $ 6,000 community health mini-grant from the American Heart Association, made possible by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina. The grants are designed to focus on food security, community health education, and managing hypertension during the pandemic.
Huchette pointed out that the majority of students come from urban areas with little experience with plants and agriculture. She pointed out that programs such as community gardens can give young people the skills they need to become agricultural leaders.
âAn herb garden can be a great way in this regard, a great way to support experiential learning for them,â Huchette said. “It’s actually a much larger way to involve them and connect them with the community.”
She added that culinary herbs have a multitude of benefits, and noted that scientists continue to find compounds in plants that have positive effects on human health.
âWith herbs, we can look at their cultivation, but also how to use them in cooking, and also understand their nutritional and health benefits,â Huchette said.
Research shows that many herbs and spices are loaded with antioxidant properties that can help prevent cancer and reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases.