South Riverdale Community Health Centre (SRCHC), the lead agency for Healthy Kids Danforth-East York features Power Off & Play and raises awareness about reducing screen time in their newsletter “Health Matters”, spring edition 2018.

Check it out!

POWER OFF AND PLAY TO FIND A HEALTHY BALANCE

A Tower Garden is an aeroponic, produce-growing system, meaning that it grows plants in a mist environment. As a result, this method is very efficient. It can grow plants up to three times as quickly as a standard garden and can be used inside with grow lights during the winter. In the Healthy Kids Community Challenge (HKCC), the Tower Garden will touch on both Theme 3 (“Choose to Boost Veggies and Fruit”) and Theme 4 (“Power Off and Play!”).

Through the development of educational programming, children in the community willhave an opportunity to experience screen-free play by growing plants themselves. As well, it is an opportunity to develop a taste for fresh vegetables early in life which can carry into adolescent and adult years.

So far, we have set up the tower and started some seedlings. We have spinach, kale, broccoli raab, lettuces and herbs among others. The first round of seedlings is coming along nicely in the tower and we have started a second round for after the first harvest.

HKCC has two other Tower Gardens in the community, one at Massey Centre and another at Selwyn Public School. Both have engaged children in food growth, production and harvesting. Our plan is to visit the

other two sites to learn from their practices. We hope to implement an educational program for children, focusing on the Tower Garden at 955 Queen Street East.

EARTH DAY, CHILDREN’S PLAY AND PLASTICS

This year’s Earth Day priority is ending plastic pollution as well as encouraging children to play outdoors. Imagine, exchanging screens and plastic toys for playing outside! The health and environmental benefits are huge.

But why is plastic pollution important? About 300 million tons of plastic are produced each year to make plastic bags, plastic bottles, packages and other commodities for people all over the world. Only about 10% of this plastic is recycled and reused. The rest ends up as waste in landfills or as litter in our natural environment; it leaches dangerous chemicals into nearby soil and water, endangering humans and wildlife. This problem has now grown out of control and threatens to affect millions of people and animals if we do not act soon.

What can we do?

  • Lead by example. Recycling is good but it alone won’t solve this. Stop using unnecessary plastic products such as bags, straws, bottles, razors, diapers, etc. Instead, start using reusable bags, bottles, silverware, dishes, cleaning tools and other products. It’s time to end our obsession with plastic and start protecting our environment.
  • Help the children in your life experience the outdoors and “Power off and Play.” Walk or bike to the park. Check out a nearby trail. Try to make your community more child-friendly with safer streets. Talk to your city councillor about opportunities for improvement.
  • Connect with Ward30 Bikes, local advocates for safer streets.

Sources: www.earthday.org and www.plasticoceans.org