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Family Gardening: The Solution to Hunger is in Your Own Backyard | Apr. 27, 2011

As day to day living costs continue to climb, now is a great time to supplement your family’s diet with food grown in your own yard.


Spring is on its way (we think) and planting a garden is a fun, enriching, lifelong activity you can share with your child.  Gardening gives a child the opportunity to explore and understand the nature in their own backyard, as well as teaches them the benefits of growing, harvesting and eating healthy foods.  Gardening with your child helps your child understand the cycle of life and where their food comes from.


Numerous research studies have demonstrated that children who are involved in gardening increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables.  And, contrary to popular belief, you needn’t have a large plot of ground to plant.  You may have a strip next to a fence or your front steps that would work great.  Even families living in an apartment can have a virtual garden in pots.


To get started, go to a local farmer’s market or grocery store and show your child the different vegetables or fruits they could grow in their own backyard.  Get them excited about the possibilities of growing their own food.


Allow your child to choose their own section of the garden or their own pots and what they would like to plant.   If you aren’t an experienced gardener, ask a local store employee what grows well in the area and what is easy to plant.


There are many learning and bonding opportunities with your child as you watch the plants grow and change in front of your own eyes.  You can make the gardening experience fun and eventful by setting times each week to water and weed the garden and check the progress of your hard work together.


Gardening is a win-win family activity which instills responsibility, grows knowledge, provides entertainment and helps supplement your family’s meals with healthy low-cost produce.  After all, what kid doesn’t like to play in the dirt!


To encourage family gardening, Coeur d’Alene School District 271 is hosting a theme meal on Tuesday, May 3, in all of the local elementary schools.  Currently, Coeur d’Alene School District Nutrition Services participates in Idaho’s Farm to School Program which connects local food and agriculture with schools and students to help support healthy children, healthy schools, healthy farms and healthy communities.


During the theme meal, Coeur d’Alene School District is taking this concept one step further with School to Home by providing each child with “Lizzie’s Magic Beans” (green bean seeds) to take home so they can plant their own gardens.  Green bean tasting tables will be placed in every cafeteria so that children can “taste” what they can grow.


To learn more about family gardening and the upcoming gardening theme meal being served in Coeur d’Alene School District’s elementary schools, check out the CDA SD 271 Nutrition Services home page at www.cdaschools.org.