Children learn by example, they learn self-esteem by what they feel good about accomplishing, and they learn to eat healthy foods by growing what they eat themselves.
At a young age, children are exposed to many toxins from their environment and their food; this is not good for their growing bodies. Commercially grown produce found in grocery stores are most likely to have been sprayed with pesticides and other chemicals that have no place in a child’s diet, or in an adult’s diet for that matter. Some of the toxins can accumulate in their cells and can seriously cause illnesses, including cancer. Who knows what kind of treatment food gets when it is grown elsewhere?
Flavor and nutrition diminish as soon as the produce has been picked and if it comes from a foreign country there isn’t much nutrition left. If you want your kids to get the most nutritious food to fuel their growth it makes sense to grow it as locally as possible, right from your own home.
Learning how to garden teaches kids about life, the earth, responsibility and a sense of accomplishment, all things that are essential to having a well-rounded child. There are math lessons involved: learning patterns, proper spacing and how to read a ruler, how to figure out how much soil is needed in a raised bed, how much can they grow in a small space. There are science lessons: how to be a good earth steward, what kinds of plants can grow next to other types of plants and which plants should not be next to them and why, biology and what kinds of bugs are good in a garden and which are not good, how to attract the good bugs, and how can you make your own compost? And cooking……
Kids need to be outside, away from the TV and electronics, they need to move and get exercise. Gardening is a way a child, of any age, can accomplish a task that feeds them, scoring higher on a video game cannot do that! Our youth learn self-respect and self-esteem by doing something that they, themselves, can be proud of and can brag to their parents about.
Today’s fast-paced world causes untold stresses, playing in the dirt relieves day to day stress and depression. Ask any adult gardener why they have a garden, and most of them will tell you it is their sanctuary where they can connect with nature, the birds and the bees and it gives back more, in the way of peace, food, and taste.
Get your youngsters outside in a garden, enjoy the sunshine, the rain and nature, you will create an unbreakable bond that will last even through the tough teen years!!!