Many of us “sheltering at home” are spending time gardening. Kids are getting into the act too! Social distancing is our norm for now, but all gardeners are looking ahead to better times. If you’ve spent any time at the Historic Mableton Community Garden or are a member of the Facebook group, then you’ve definitely witnessed The Polyglot Society Homeschool Co-op kids playing in the dirt and learning about all things gardening from master gardeners Renee Booker and Sandy Rodgers.
In 2019, MIC board member, Twila Hawthorne, invited the kids to bring their STEM curriculum to life by encouraging their moms to rent a plot on their behalf. The kids (Asher, Evynn and Miles) jumped at the opportunity to be outside and have the ability to play in the dirt. What they didn’t know was the amount of manual labor required to grow their own food but with the help of their moms and others in the garden community, they were able to create a flourishing plot all while incorporating math and science. They quickly became little sponges, soaking up all the information they could about planting and harvesting organic produce. In no time, they saw the fruits of their labor. In the Spring they planted radishes, pole beans, cucumbers and green onions. Over the summer, they picked the cucumbers and pulled up the plethora of mint leaves and their parents enjoyed refreshing cucumber mint water to stay cool.
In the fall, they planted cabbage, green beans and broccoli. They were fascinated to see how cabbage and broccoli grew and that it could survive the cold weather. They even conducted taste test by comparing the taste of their fresh green beans to canned green beans. During their holiday party for their tutors, they served fresh cabbage from their garden.
The newly minted mini-master gardeners have been given the opportunity to expand their gardening efforts to encourage other elementary kids to start growing their own produce. Thanks to the The Greater Atlanta McDonald’s Owner/Operators Golden Grant, the kids have created a new project called Urban AgriKids. Urban AgriKids will host “Play in the Dirt Again” playdates (when it’s safe to be in close proximity of others) to teach kids about gardening. Additionally, they’ll conduct “farm to table” tastings to encourage kids to eat more vegetables and to become more conscious of their food choices.
To get in touch with Urban AgriKids, visit their Facebook page.