As many of you know, we love growing fruit, vegetables and herbs with our kids in our very own yard. Over a year ago, this passion introduced me to Mike Lieberman of Urban Organic Farmer who shares that joy with kids, parents and other adults every day. What follows is Mike’s first guest post here at Feed Our Families. Enjoy…
When parents say that they can’t start a family garden to grow their own food, I often ask them why they can’t make it a family experience? To make it something that everyone enjoys and takes part in.
Looking back at history, that’s what families did. Sometime in the past 100 or so years, that trend has changed. Did you know that the school year is actually based on the agricultural calendar. Kids were off during July and August to help with the summer harvest.
These days families have handedover the responsibility of providing food for their family to others. That sense of where the food came from and what’s happened to it has been lost. The only thing we know is that it’s there, and it’s there in abundance.
The act of growing food should be a family activity from the planting, growing, harvesting, preparing, sharing and eating. It will help to foster a deeper appreciation for everything that’s involved in getting it to our dinner tables while getting some fun family time in.
There are a bunch of fun projects that you can do as a family to keep everyone involved, and keep costs low, all while spending some quality time together.
Here is where you can begin -
What to grow? Call a family meeting and make this decision together. Let everyone voice their opinion and come to a conclusion as a family
Potting soil. Go to your local nursery or health food store and buy some organic potting soil to get started.
Seed starting. Starting seeds can be one of the most fun parts of the project. There are a many ways that you can start your seeds. Why not get crafty and make it into an arts and crafts project? You just need toilet paper rolls, potting soil and your seeds. Here’s full instructions on how to use toilet paper rolls as a seed starter pot.
After you start your seeds, make sure to put them in a nice sunny area and keep them moist. In about a week, you should start to see sprouts coming up through the soil. This will keep you and the kids entertained. Nothing like seeing some progress.
Making containers. Not everyone will have a full garden to grow in, but most of us have a patio, porch or balcony. These are the perfect places put containers for your garden. Self-watering containers are a great solution and they are what I use in my garden. The kids will love getting to paint and decorate them with what they are growing in the container.
Tending to the garden. The chores of caring for the garden can be divided up and assigned. Some tasks include watering, checking for bugs and pests and showing the plant some love. You can keep a diary and pictures of your weekly progress to chart growth to show how garden is doing.
Harvesting and preparing. Once the plants are ready, you can harvest it to get ready for your family feast. Before that happens, there is another decision to make – how you want to prepare it.
Sharing. This is where it all becomes worth it. You know very well that if you made a salad for dinner and the parsley was the only ingredient that you grew, you are going to brag about it. There is nothing wrong with that.
When you grow your own food, your sweat and love goes into it and it will show. You’ll be able to sense and feel it in your meal. You very well know that you will be telling everyone that you grew this parsley from seed. Your kids will be bragging as well.
This doesn’t mean that you have a huge garden. You can just grow that one container together and that will make a difference. It will help to bring your relationship as a family closer together and foster healthy habits.
What are you going to start growing as a family?
Through his blog Urban Organic Farmer and social media, Mike Lieberman inspires and empowers people to start growing their own food and reconnect with their food source. Mike believes that growing just one herb or vegetable will make a difference. It will help to cut back the intensive resources that go into the production and transport of food to our plates. It will also help us to re-establish our connection with food that we’ve lost over the past few years. We are humans. We grow food. Connect with Mike atUrbanOrganicGardener.com,Twitter orFacebook.