Like many parents, Andrea Sheldon was finding it hard to get her children to eat their vegetables,until she got them involved in the process.

Andrea Sheldon says, “It's been very tough, but coming here they eat the carrots right out of the ground, don’t even wash them. It’s fun for them. Same with peas, they eat them right off the leaf.”

Andrea and her family are involved in a gardening program on Mankato Clinic’s Wickersham campus.

Sheldon says, “We come here every two or three days as a family and pick what needs to be picked, weed, and just watch it grow. Sometimes they pick too early because they are so excited.”

Heading up the program is Dietetic Student Kjersten Lemke who says her whole idea was to get children involved in growing their own produce, so then they might be more likely to eat it.

 Kjersten Lemke, dietetic student, says, “I”ve really seen they are proud they get to garden and participate. They are proud they can eat what they grow.”

All of the gardens are maintained by Mankato Clinic staff and taken home for their families, except for one. Its produce goes to the ECHO food shelf.

Lemke has gained even more from the program than she originally planned.

Lemke says, “This has inspired me to look into the community side of health, I actually want to become a community dietitian because of this program.”