There are lots of ways to get your children gardening even if you do not have a garden of your own. Get out and explore vegetable gardens growing all over the city, many of these gardens encourage children to pick, experience and explore. Community Gardens and garden plots have popped up all over the city as a way to educate as well as produce an abundance of fresh local food. Many of these gardens are now providing fresh produce for food banks and shelters around the city. In fact, the Common Roots Farm, the big garden in front of QEII Emergency, has donated over 250 lbs of produce to the Parker Street Food Bank. That's a lot of lettuce, cucumbers, kale and tomatoes!
Stop by the Common Roots Urban Farm and say hello to Baley the straw bale bear who looks out over the commons. While you're there, check in with the garden hosts who'll point you to the edible landscaping where your children can see all that is growing and even sample vegetables from the plots on the farm.
Walking around the city, you will see vegetables growing in the HRM city gardens. The gardens at Saunders Park, Conrose Field, the Spring Garden Library are a few of the city gardens where you can have a fun game of eye spy as your kids learn colours and vegetable names. Food from these city gardens is also being donated to shelters and food banks across the city.
Another good place to look for a local garden growing vegetables is your local school yard. It's not just famous chefs like Jamie Oliver that are out there promoting school gardens. Local chefs as well as our own NS Department of Agriculture are out there working with schools. All over the province schools are putting in vegetable gardens and integrating gardens with school curriculum. This Wednesday, August 21st, Rick Hoeg from the Department of Agriculture is giving a free talk on school gardens at 7pm in Room 307 in the Dal Student Union Building. He'll be sharing lots of the success stories from across the province on how to help kids grow food that is healthy, fresh and delicious!
Deirdre Evans is owner of Urban Veggies, and founder www.urbangardener.ca. She is a garden coach and mother to two young boys. Deirdre helps people grow fresher, healthier, tastier food in urban garden boxes here in HRM.