Growing Things Part I – Planting

Learning where food comes from is an important part of educating children. I remember when I lived in London, a prominent political person in South Africa was asked where she would get her groceries if the farmers gave up their farms. Her response was the name of the local grocery store.

Sadly, this is a fairly common issue. People seem to have lost touch with food – not its taste, quite evidently, but its production, the work involved in getting it from a seed or small creature onto your plate to nourish your body. It is partly because of this that we as a family have always grown things (even on our small 1/3 acre of land that was dominated by a big house), and also found local places where we could pick our own fruit or veggies from their abundance. We looked for places where we could pick because others had the space to grow things we didn’t, and we could focus on some basic veggies like tomatoes and sugar snap peas. It’s also why we took our children to see an animal get slaughtered. We want them to know where food comes from.

If you have picky eaters, growing some food is a sure way to overcome that.

I don’t recall my children liking peas at dinnertime, so you can imagine my surprise when we grew sugar snap peas and I found my young children standing barefoot in our driveway on an early summer afternoon picking them off the vine and devouring them!

It’s very satisfying to go outside and pick something you have grown to prepare and eat. It’s the result of your work, your sweat, your time, and your forethought, and you get to enjoy bringing it inside, preparing and sharing it. Even in very small spaces, there are solutions for a lack of acreage that can be used to grow some food, if only to supplement what you buy, and teach your children where food comes from.

The last two summers that we lived in a house in Vermont, our children were each given one of our raised beds in which to grow some veggies. When we’d been away for three years, we went back for a visit. I didn’t realize that my children had created lasting memories from their time living in the house, and their gardens were a large part of that! They asked if they could plant things again. While we weren’t there long enough to plant and harvest anything to eat, they all cleared their beds of weeds, transplanted violets and rhubarb, and continued to weed and water them during our stay. They hadn’t done so in three years, yet they remembered and eager to do so!

Go ahead. Put some seeds into the ground, watch them grow, and then be ready to enjoy what they produce.

Start somewhere. You never know where it will lead!