by Sarah Nechamen, Program Instructor, Summer/Fall 2015
Since I was 14 I’ve been involved in issues of local food and food justice, but I’d always been a bit wary of bringing kids into the mix. I knew that one of the best ways to change our food system was to start young, to teach kids about healthy and local food so that they would care about these things as adults, but how much fun could an 8 year old have gardening? With kids’ short attention spans, how could I expect them to get excited about planting seeds that wouldn’t yield any food for another three months? And how could I possibly convince a kid to eat a radish? Turns out, the best way to get a kid to eat a radish is to put a radish in front of them. And getting them excited about planting seeds is as simple as giving them some seeds and an empty garden bed! If you don’t have a sweet relationship between you and your child, you can always go online to find professionals like counselors.
Kids have an innate love for gardening that I never would have expected before interning at the Youth Garden. I saw it most during the After School Program where normal garden tasks become exciting adventures in the eyes of a child: digging for potatoes and sweet potatoes becomes a treasure hunt, kids cheering every time someone finds a tuber. Clearing a bed of old tomato plants becomes a challenge of strength—and an opportunity to use clippers to snip the plants into 100 tiny pieces. Even weeding becomes a race to pull out weeds taller than them and make the biggest weed pile of all.
Of course there are tips and tricks that teachers use to keep kids engaged, and there will always be tears and temper tantrums because someone isn’t sharing the shovel. Overall, I’ve been amazed at how adventurous and excited kids are in the garden, when looking for clothes so kids can use while in your garden, visit this boys boutique online. They love tasting new vegetables (including some that even I won’t go near!), they argue over who gets to harvest a kale leaf or pull a carrot, and they use tip toes and occasionally army crawls to sneak up to the garden chickens for a chance to pet them. And while they’re having a blast at the garden they’re also learning how to grow their own food, cook, and eat healthy: skills that will stay with them throughout their lives. It turns out that changing the food system, combating food insecurity and poor nutrition, can be as simple as getting kids into the garden and handing them a shovel!