When I was six years old, teachers at my small, urban school installed two small raised garden beds for the first and second grade classes. We decided what vegetables we wanted and we planted seeds together. We watched hopefully as seedlings sprouted and grew.
I remember vividly pulling my very first carrot from the ground. It was scraggly and crooked, no thicker than a pencil. But to me, it was the most perfect carrot ever grown. That afternoon, our parents came to the garden to see the fruits of our labor. I kept a close eye on my carrot to make sure I could show my parents the exact one that I'd picked. Handing that carrot to my mother was a very proud moment.
To accompany dinner, my parents prepared a salad – including, of course, my special carrot. In retrospect, there must have been other carrots cut up in that salad because mine could have been eaten in a single bite. But I announced every carrot I bit into that evening as the best, sweetest, crunchiest carrot I'd ever tasted, convinced that it was the one I'd harvested.
Growing and harvesting my own carrot was special. But what made it so memorable for me was being able to share the experience with my family. The garden bridged my worlds, bringing together garden lessons and my family's own food culture.
As you'll see in this week's Success Story below, school and youth garden programs can provide an important space for parents and their kids to think about food and nature together. Families can experience tasting a new vegetable or simply benefit from shared experiences. This month's newsletter highlights resources and stories about engaging families in the school garden community through activities in the garden and in the home.
If you have stories and ideas to share about family time in the garden – as a parent, an educator, or a kid! – we want to hear about it! Share your experiences on our Facebook
page or Twitter
using the hashtag #FamilyGardening
, WSGN Communications Manager