09/21/2011 12:34 pm ET Updated Nov 21, 2011

Rooftop Gardening: Empowering Children With Knowledge

Each culture has its own set of rites, practices, and beliefs. "American kids grow up receiving practically no education about nutrition. In fact their knowledge, attention and focus are directed, for the most part, toward fast food through advertising on every street corner, television, and on every game they play. No real school or science programs on nutrition are mandatory in schools. Where does food come from?

Most interviews we conducted reveal that a great number of children believe that food comes from the supermarket and -- true fact -- a number of parents believe that to be true as well. Poor nutritional habits must be changed through education and to be effective it must be imparted to children at a young age both at school and at home. If America is to save itself and its health care system maybe what was achieved in banning cigarette smoking ads on TV should be applied to fast food as well. I am referring to the health care system, simply because bad nutrition leads to most diseases and the price to pay for it seems at this juncture to be overtaking that same system.

Parents need to be seriously concerned because the subject at hand is their children's health. They must be knowledgeable about what they feed their young ones. As responsible adults entrusted with the well-being of their off-springs they must be more than vigilant. They must educate themselves thoroughly and educate their own children. Mothers much too often rely on ready-made food. Pull it out, de-freeze it, put it in hot water, "come sit down, your next meal is ready".

The greatest cause of illnesses in any country comes from bad eating habits: sugar consumption is out of proportion, salt is commonly abused, sodas and diet sodas are causing obesity and depleting energy without discrimination; all combined, they attack your health and, there is only so much the immune system can handle. Time is precious so fast food comes in handy. The economics are equally precious: fast is cheap.

The way I feed myself today and whatever I know about nutrition all comes from what my mother showed me as a young kid. Although she worked all day she managed to put fresh food on the table every night. She cooked each meal from scratch. I do the same with my children. It makes sense that whatever you eat must be fresh and varied. What children learn from their parents is invaluable. Our hope to empower children with the knowledge they need to stay healthy led us to the creation of the Rooftop Garden Project at P.S 20, in Brooklyn. Education based this program gives the children the awareness they need to understand how food grows and where it comes from and they derive a great deal of pride from seeing the fruits /vegetables of their labor. The Roof top Garden Project is the way to go. It must be developed in every school in New York before it goes nationwide.