DENVER - I love our garden for so many reasons, but mostly I love that it keeps my family connected to food.
Here are three lessons my kids are learning from the garden to inspire you to plant your own.
1. Vegetables don’t magically appear in the produce aisle. My kids have learned that carrots do not start out as uniform smooth pellets in a plastic bag. They come out of the ground and they are dirty! And they can be long, short, crooked or fat – at the least the ones we grow are. When they come out of the ground they are bumpy and covered with root hairs, but they taste delicious! The first time I ate a carrot right out of the garden I was amazed at how strong the flavor was. I didn’t know that was how a carrot was supposed to taste.
2. Seasonal eating comes naturally. My kids don’t understand yet why local, seasonal eating is so important. I haven’t explained to them that this fresh food is better for the environment because it doesn’t have to travel across the country or even the ocean. Or that buying food when it is local and in abundant supply is more affordable. We haven’t talked about how eating seasonally forces you to eat a variety of veggies, not just the ones you like best (asparagus season only lasts so long.) But my kids are learning that the first things we get our of our garden are snow peas and spinach followed by radishes. They see that later we get to eat green beans and tomatoes, and they know we have to wait until school starts in the fall for butternut squash and pumpkins. To teach kids when certain foods are in season (and learn more about vegetables), visit The Interactive Vegetannual website.
3. Food can go from the garden, to the kitchen, to the table. Gardening ensures that we are all in the kitchen cooking together. It’s simple: You have to use the food or it goes to waste. When zucchinis are in season we eat them in breads, muffins, soups and pastas. We grill them, bake them and eat them in salads. While kids know cooking from the garden is fun, I know that cooking your own food ensures that you know exactly what you are putting in their bellies.
-- This article was written by Amy of Denver. Amy writes a mom's blog for LiveWellColorado. California girl Amy and mom of two now resides with her family in Lowry. As a health and fitness professional, she’s passionate about educating the next healthier generation.
This article was originally posted on LiveWellColorado.org.