Year: 
2021
Project Leader: 
Daniel Wilson and Martha Yount, Jessica Morris
Department/Program: 
RCARS and Cooperative Extension
Funding Received: 
$1,000

Children living in Breathitt and surrounding counties served by UK’s Robinson Center (RCARS) rank at the absolute bottom of the Robert Woods Johnson County Health Rankings for overall health outcomes (Breathitt #120, Wolfe #119, Owsley #118, Leslie #117, Perry #116: 2018 data). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list childhood obesity as a contributing factor to many health issues. The CDC states that one way to combat childhood obesity is to consume a diet high in vegetables and fruits.  RCARS and Cooperative Extension partner with schools and community (Kentucky River Medical Center, Breathitt County Public Health Department, Breathitt County Public Library and others) to host a regional Farm to Preschool/School event at no cost to students aged 3–6. “Pumpkin Days” provide around 15 educational stations that allow students and their families an opportunity to discover how pumpkins grow as well as opportunities to sample healthy recipes prepared with pumpkin. The event culminates with students experiencing agriculture first hand as they walk into a pumpkin patch and select their very own pumpkin.  Students and their families who attend Pumpkin Days will learn how pumpkins grow, at educational stations and through firsthand experience in a field of pumpkins. Students will taste several healthy recipes (from KYNEP resources) prepared with pumpkin. Teachers will use the Pumpkin Day experience to reinforce classroom activities throughout the school year.