SOUTH HAVEN | South Haven Elementary School students got to dig into the dirt Tuesday afternoon.
And they'll get to dig in later to the fresh vegetables they planted in the six planter boxes at the school.
It's all part of the American Heart Association Teaching Garden program sponsored by ArcelorMittal.
"It's important because it is resources for you. You can use those resources when you grow up," fifth-grader Alexis Pennington said. Pennington is a member of the school's Planeteers group who spent time before Tuesday's planting to ready the soil for this year's garden.
The goal of the project is to let youngsters plant and nurture the growing vegetables. Then they get to try them and, hopefully, love them. By loving and eating fresh vegetables, youngsters -- and maybe their families -- will improve their heart health.
For some, its also a lesson in economics.
"In the future, instead of spending a lot of money for groceries, you can plant your own," fifth-grader Alyssa Penrose said.
This is the second year for the garden at the school. Last year, Principal Dave Lesich said, students in summer school enjoyed some of the crops and when classes started in August, youngsters were taught to harvest them.
For some, Lesich said, it was their first experience at biting into a juicy ripe tomato fresh from the vine.
They also made pesto, tomato juice and pizza sauce from the vegetables, teacher Deborah Loverich said, adding kindergarten students made fresh pizza from the garden goods.
Larry Fabina, manager of continuous improvement for the steelmaker, told the youngsters to eat the vegetables to make themselves "big and strong."
"When I was your age, I didn't eat vegetables. Today, I eat them all," Fabina said.