Monday, January 14, 2008

Let them bake cake! (And plant carrots.)

I remember going out to Grandpa's garden with him when I was about 5 to see if any carrots were big enough to pick yet. He told me it's best to go in barefoot "so you can feel the mud squish between your toes."

Mud or no mud, I think that getting messy - exploring, experimenting, picking carrots, dumping flour, trying things "hands on" - is an important part of growing up. So I was glad to read that a school in Berkeley, CA is getting middle schoolers gardening and cooking with their Edible Schoolyard.

Their website has a list of 20 Good Reasons to Have a Garden and a Kitchen at Your School. But you could rename it "Good Reasons to Let Your Kids into Your Garden and Kitchen" and most of the principles would apply in your own home. For example, here are the first three reasons on their list:

  1. The garden and kitchen provide a context for understanding seasonality and life cycles.
  2. It's an opportunity to work cooperatively on real tasks.
  3. Sensory experience becomes part of a child’s day...
You can read the rest here.

However, one of the best reasons didn't make the list. I read it in Sept. 2007's Delicious Living magazine in an article by Edible Schoolyard founder Alice Waters.

She said: "When kids grow it and cook it, they eat it!"

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P.S. Self promotion moment: Need to outfit a little gardener? You can find cute garden-themed baby and kids clothes in my shop. (Yes, we have stuff for grownups too! :) )

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Photos: 1) by Etolane. Creative Commons License. 2) our teeny tiny garden (last year) 3) Gardening Makes Me Happy Infant/Toddler T-shirt 4) Garden Infant/Toddler T-shirt

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