Never gardened before? That’s no problem. Now is a great time to learn. Just try planting one or two things this year and see how it goes. You don’t want to choose too many and have it become overwhelming. Keep it simple and it can be a lot of fun.
Having your kids engage in gardening early on can encourage them to get involved with the food system right from the planting and growing. It can help them learn more about where their food comes from. It helps encourage them to get away from screens and from being inside, giving them a reason to get outside. Kids who are involved in the growing process of their food are much more inclined to try eating it.
Don’t have a garden? That’s ok; container gardening works well too. There are many different foods that can be grown in containers. Not only will this give you fresh food to eat or herbs to add to your meals but this is another way to involve your kids in learning about how our food gets to our table. Living the way most of us do nowadays has given us a certain amount of disconnect with our food. Eating food that comes out of a package, or vegetables and fruit that have been transformed can leave kids not knowing where food actually comes from. This is actually quite common when I do a grocery store tour for kids. Growing your own food can be an empowering way to gain some of that disconnect back.
Some people choose to get a community garden plot. This allows you more room to plant what you choose and can give you a sense of community as you meet, chat and learn from other people also using the community garden. Again, this can be a great learning experience for your kids. Encourage them to learn about the different plants that other people are growing.
Have your kids choose some vegetables that they already like to eat and then try to grow them yourselves. Or if the kids are feeling adventurous you could get them to choose a new vegetable, herb or fruit that they would like to try and plant it and watch it grow. Involve them in as much of the process as possible. Take them to the store and talk about the different types of seeds that you see. If you are looking at plants talk about how to choose the one that is right – what it needs to grow, how big it will get, what it produces, etc.
Kids love to get their hands dirty and it’s a great way to learn. What a treat getting to eat what your hard work produced.
Looking for more ways to involve your kids with their food? Contact Jill, Nurture The Future’s Registered Dietitian at firstname.lastname@example.org