What’s the Deal with Growing our Own Food?
Where did the desire to grow food with my kids come from? Why do I do it? Why should you?
Over the years I have become increasingly concerned about our food supply. You hear, “this food is contaminated with listeria” or “this spinach had e-coli on it” all the time in the news these days. Our food system is far too taxed because of greed, waste, and too much demand.
Producers are so ginormous there is no way they could make sure every scrap of food they turn out is safe. That’s why I like the idea of the small, local producer. The closer you are to who grows your food, the more you know about how that food was produced.
As I tried to get good quality food for my children and family, I realized we could get an ever better food supply if we grow as much as we can ourselves! We can control what chemicals are on our food and how it’s handled from seed to consumption.
The desire to grow food has always been in me. My grandparents and great grandparents were farmers and my mother always grew some type of food. Food is nourishment. Food is the foundation of life. Food is the source of sickness or health, depending on the quality of that food.
Over the past 20 years of caring for children in my home, there have only been a handful of years I didn’t try to grow food with them. I don’t seem to have any natural abilities or instincts, so we always found very little success. Four years ago, my friend Claudia called me and told me about a class to teach you to grow food with your daycare kids. I was all in!
We attended the class and received wonderful information as well as a 3 x 10 raised bed, dirt, tools, plants and seeds. We had everything we needed to grow food! The most important thing I learned about growing food is the importance of soil! Our teacher, Doug Walton, taught us that clay soil suffocates the roots of your plants because it holds water. When water doesn’t drain, roots can’t breathe and plants die.
BINGO! My clay soil was preventing me from being successful in the garden. So we built up! We took that first raised bed and grew in it the best we could. We learned a lot of lessons about what not to do from the failures we had along the way. One of my daycare parents, Danny, helped us build another raised bed and taught us about the soil to put in it and we grew even more things. We built more beds until our garden area was full.
Click here to see how our garden began.
There is an empty field next to our property and my husband asked the owner if we could use some of that land to grow even more and he said WHATEVER WE WANTED! We built a 20 x 80 fenced in area to expand. We got donated supplies, donations from local businesses, a small grant, and spent a whole lot of our own money to build a fence, build beds for it and fill them with dirt. Over the course of a year and a half we completed that project.
Click here to see how we built the expansion.
Now we are growing hundreds of pounds of food to eat fresh from the garden and store to eat later every year. We are getting super nutritious, chemical free food to grow strong minds and healthy bodies. I cannot think of a better use of our time.
Letting the kids grow the food in the gardens teaches them important skills they will be able to use for the rest of their lives. The garden is a magical place full of so much learning and knowledge, there is nothing that can compare with it for education. Birth to three is such an important time to introduce good habits, good health, and establish learning patterns. Click here to see more about what’s going on in children’s forming brains at this age. There are some uber important brain connections developing. We must capitalize on the time we have.
Please don’t think you have to go all out and plant 50 beds of produce like we are doing. You can teach kids so much and grow a lot of healthy food in one 3 x 10 raised bed or garden plot. The important part is to do it! Just take a step. You don’t have to be an expert, I’m certainly not. I’m learning more and more every day. Do what you can, where you can, with as many kids as you can. And if you don’t have kids in your life, that’s fine, don’t forget to nurture yourself!
If you want to read about how to get started, click here.
Plant a garden today, I promise, it will change you!