How to Get More Kids Engaged in Growing Vegetables

How to Get More Kids Engaged in Growing Vegetables

How to Get More Kids Engaged in Growing Vegetables 1920 1440 Eco Garden Systems

Do you remember growing vegetables as a child?

It’s likely that most people recall being in the garden as a kid. You might have memories of growing vegetables and helping Grandma harvest while secretly shoving most of the fresh tomatoes into your mouths. The intense flavor of freshly picked vegetables stays with us long after eating them.

With busier lives, convenience foods, and too much screen time, those savory mouth feels you get to experience from growing vegetables in your own garden may seem lost. But gardening is still a top hobby in the U.S., with 77% of households taking part, and 29% of them are 18-34 years old. It’s refreshing to see that younger adults are getting into growing. To ensure we have more fresh food in the future, it seems important to get more kids in the garden growing vegetables, too.

So, how do we do get kids excited about growing vegetables? Start teaching children how to garden in school. In fact, we placed our Eco Gardens into a few schools, like this one, to get kids growing vegetables.

The Benefits of Growing Vegetable with Kids:

  • Kids will get more exercise instead of couch time. Being in nature is great for letting out energy and enhancing the mind.
  • They will have access to healthier food choices by eating the food they grow. This will lead to better health and lifestyle habits. A 2017 evaluation of FoodCorps conducted by the Tisch Center for Food, Education, and Policy at Teachers College, Columbia University found that in schools that provide frequent, high-quality opportunities for hands-on nutrition learning, students eat up to three times more fruits and vegetables at school lunch — regardless of whether or not that food was grown in the garden.
  • Kids will have a healthier immune system from digging in the dirt. “Picking up soil and smudging it into their face, there’s nothing wrong with that,” says Dr. Gilbert, a microbiologist at the University of Chicago. “Exposure to the outside environment . . . can be extremely beneficial in helping your child to grow a functional immune system and their brain and their body in the best way possible.”
  • It’s the perfect opportunity to combine learning and doing. Kids will know where food comes from and how to keep growing it for years to come.

How To Get Kids Growing Vegetables:

  • Find possible school programs, grants, and resources through Slow Food USA.
  • Come up with a garden plan. It’s best to start small and see how it goes first. Container gardening is an easy way to start. Our Eco Gardens are perfect for school gardening projects because they allow for better growth and overplanting in a smaller space (4’ by 6’). Read our vegetable gardening planning guide for more tips and planning tools.
  • Decide what to grow. Start with a few easy-to-grow plants first, including herbs. Check out this guide for 10 vegetables that fit the five sub-groups that school food staff purchase for meals – dark green, orange/red, and other as defined by the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2012. These choices allow for harvests in spring and fall, when kids are in school.
  • Divide up gardening tasks. Growing food can be demanding of time and attention, so make sure all kids know their role in keeping up the vegetable garden. An Eco Garden makes these tasks less demanding with its built-in water reservoir and Air Gap that accelerates growth.

Helping kids with growing vegetables is a fun and active project that will teach them valuable life skills. Plus, it will get them outside again and eating well as they devour all those juicy tomatoes, just like you did as a kid.

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