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We all know that gardening is good for the soul. Teaching your children or grandchildren how to garden can be even better for the soul. The only thing better than watching something grow that you planted, is seeing the look in your children or grandchildren’s eyes when they see something they planted grow.
If you ask your children, many of them will tell you that ketchup and french fries are vegetables. And according to the World Cancer Research Fund, four out of five children eat less than the recommended five portions of fruits and vegetables a day. However, there is hope for encouraging your children to choose healthy vegetables and fruits over the chips and fruit snacks they usually choose.
A new study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that kids who are involved in the process of growing their own food are more likely to have healthier diets. They are eager to try vegetables they have seen through the growing process from seed to harvest. In fact, my children are more likely to try vegetables they would normally say they didn’t like simply because they’ve had an interaction with the vegetables and know where it came from. Vegetables taste better when they are pulled straight out of the ground, brushed off, and eaten right there in the garden.
Children love bugs and things that crawl. Beetles, worms, frogs, insects, snails and small mammals are all creatures you and your children can find in the garden. Your kids will love learning that frogs and toads eat slugs and snails. Birds and wasps eat green and black flies, and moles eat beetle grubs, cutworms, and wireworms. It’s a real life example of how the food chain works right there in your backyard. Just think of the possibilities and the conversations you and your children will have out there in the garden.
There is natural attraction between children and the earth, and not only does gardening get kids away from the Xbox, text messaging, and face book, but it also teaches them some very important life lessons. Gardening teaches children patience, respect for living things, the value of worthwhile work, and responsibility of nurturing life.
Gardening also teaches children that you can’t control everything in life, sometimes, no matter how well you take care of your garden, your plants will die. But that’s ok because there is always next season.
So what are you waiting for? Start planting the seed of a healthy, happy life and start making memories for you and your children that will last forever.
If your publication or radio or television station is delivering stellar coverage of agriculture on an ongoing basis, this is the award competition to enter.