Edible gardens for children

Many have said, “You can only be happy if you look to the future,” “Be in the moment,” and “Breathe!”

Well, I’m happy to report that you can obtain all this good Karma by working in an edible school garden or by cooking with children.

Our children are our future; they react in the moment, absorbing everything they see, smell, touch, taste, and feel. Their emotions and reactions are instantaneous, enjoying every garden or cooking activity.

Making pesto!

Kids want to taste and cook the food they harvest. They are like the bees – buzzing from plant to plant. They love to snip, smash, and chop herbs. Children are free to interact and help each other. They love to work together. It can be noisy. Laughter, moments of wonderment, and even shrieks of insect identification fill the air.

Young chefs create cucumber noodles.

By the time you finish one short garden session and perhaps cook something right there in the garden, a wild sensation runs through you. You are exhausted, dirty, smiling, laughing, and happy! This very giving act of volunteerism does wonderful things for the kids. For the adults involved, it can become addictive. I know I can’t get enough of it!

Tips for gardening with children

  • Combine your talents with others. I work with a gifted teacher, Rebekah Ellis. Her classroom experience and my garden knowledge work hand-in-hand.
  • Start small. Vegetable are great, but seasonal. Herbs have an advantage to extend the seasons.
  • Rally the community. Ask for support from the parent-teacher organization, faculty, and local master gardeners’ groups.
  • Financial support can come from your seasonal harvest, and sales of blended herbal tea bags, herbal soaps, bird and butterfly houses, and plants. We have also applied for and received grants, including one (I’m proud to say) from The Herb Society of America!
  • Don’t get nervous! Creativity, commitment, and continuity make for a successful edible garden experience.
  • Keep it simple. Please remember that the kids will benefit greatly from all your attention, enthusiasm, and knowledge.

Herb Society members, I encourage you to exercise your “Use and Delight” of herbs!

Go with the flow!
Embrace the seasonal changes!
Embrace the children! (They will embrace you!)
And “Breathe!”

Linda Franzo, owner Passionate Platter, Herb Garden & Cooking Classes, Slidell, LA
email: Linda@passionateplatter.com
website: http://www.passionateplatter.com/home.html
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