Growing your own food is easier than you might think, even if you live in an apartment or don’t have much space. You’ll get a variety of produce year-round. And the convenience contributes to a healthy lifestyle by helping you eat healthier and save money.
Working with local community groups is a great way to create a garden with the support of your neighbors. And sharing it with your neighborhood is a terrific opportunity to learn more about food and establish healthy eating goals for the whole community.
If you don’t have access to open space for a large garden or if a rooftop garden sounds advanced, start with an indoor herb garden. It provides a great opportunity for your children to watch their hard work pay off when they watch those seeds grow into plants. Pick herbs that you use frequently in your cooking.
Many retailers offer affordable kits with planters, seeds and simple instructions on how to grow herbs right on your windowsill. Here are some tips to involve your kids:
Find an area that gets lots of sun.
Have your children help you plant the seeds and put the pots in the designated area.
Assign them the task of watering and taking notes on any changes in the herbs.
Ask them to note the differences in taste, smell and appearance of each herb.
Taking it to the classroom
Gardens in schools are great teaching tools to help children improve their relationship with food. The American Heart Association developed the Teaching Gardens program, which uses gardens planted in elementary schools across the United States to engage students in the process of growing food and what it means to be healthy. The association provides garden-themed lessons including hands-on activities such as cooking demonstrations and planting to get children excited about gardening. Interested schools can email Teaching Gardens for more information about the program.