Thursday, June 14, 2012

Kids and gardens

Lorraine Johnson's book City Farmer begins with a story about her 10-year-old nephew who had never seen a "real live" (freshly picked) pea. The pod-like thing in her hand that she was shelling had him completely confused. When she finally got him to taste a fresh pea, his response was one of surprise and pleasure:

"It's sweet, not mushy, not like canned peas." I offered him another. Pretty soon we were shelling at a great rate, stuffing little peas in our faces, talking with our mouths full. It felt like a minor triumph, winning this pea convert through direct contact with something so recently attached to a stem. 
--City Farmer, p. 1-2

I remember my days in 4H and FFA where we would host special events for elementary school kids to see and touch real live farm animals. The joy and amazement on their faces when they saw a cow or a sheep or a chicken for the first time in their lives was unbelievable. So many children today are "city kids" who never get to experience where their food comes from any more than a trip to the grocery store.

My personal background obviously gives me reason to jump at any chance I have to take Abby to the county fair, or to an apple orchard, and most recently to planting and caring for my own garden. I love getting out there every day and pulling a few weeds and giving the plants some water. Abby has learned how to squeeze the nozzle on the hose to help me water my flowers in the front yard, and when her pool is full in the backyard she will take her little watering can and help me water the veggie plants.

I can't wait for the days this summer when she'll help me pick peas (not too far away!) and beans. I know from last year that she enjoys eating them raw. :) And as she (and our other future kid(s)) get older I hope to encourage their knowledge early on that the grocery store is only a stop on the journey our food can take to get to us.

If you have kids, how do you teach them about their food?


  1. Great post Carrie. I grew up a "city kid" with one important and essential difference. My family came from the country and I visited it regularly. I helped my grandmother in the garden and went to pig pickings where the entire pig was on display. I helped feed the cows on my great-granddad's farm too. I was so blessed by these experiences. I try to give my children the same beneficial knowledge with a small garden of our own and visits to local farms. You're right, it's important to know that the things we eat don't begin at the grocery store! Thanks for sharing and for linking up with NOBH! Smiles -

  2. Great post! I also grew up as a city kid... and moved to the country about 4 years ago. I have a lot to learn. My plans are to have a garden next year-- too late this year, I think. I'm so citified, that the first time I went to the local Farmer's Market, I couldn't believe people had grown that food in our county. Like I said, I have alot to learn. :-)

    Grabbing your button for my blog friends, if that's okay!

  3. Wow, this brought back a tender memory of sitting by my grandmother shelling the peas. I will need to create a moment like this with some grandchildren.
    Blessings for this one!


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