This month our garden got a side job, as a classroom. Williamson Farmers Market hosted our first garden camp for kids in the community garden. There was fun, learning, and lots of playtime as we explored the garden.  Since last year we have hosted several classes and camp teaching basic cooking skills. This year it just made sense to show kids the origin of their food and the roots of all food life.  We decided three half days in the garden would be the perfect amount of time to teach about the three things needed for gardening success, soil, water, and sun.  Day one covered soil, worms, compost and microbes. We toured the garden counting how many different types of plants were planted this year and deciding if we could live off the variety of foods planted.

Day two we explored the sun and insects that are present in garden. We discussed the vital importance of bees in the garden and how hard they work for us to have food. Garden pests, sun tolerance, a bug hunt, and weeding were all accomplished by 1:00 pm. We left plenty of time to play in the new sprinklers that were purchased for the garden and plenty of time to play with our new garden tools. I never knew kids would be so amazed with a weeder tool but it was the hit of the day. We also explored the edible parts of plants with what leaves, stems, roots, and bulbs can be eaten and what can not. It was a great day!

Day 3 We might have got rained out, but hey, it was water day! We enjoyed most of the day under the canopy sitting on top of the picnic table like we were on an island in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. The kids didn’t seem to mind really, there were no cell phones and no distractions. We sat together and ate apples and oranges while watching the rain and talking about the water cycle. I love teachable moments and I love repeat customers, these same kids in the pic came to our Jr. Chef cooking camp this week also so they see the whole process. The garden provides a perfect place to play, a safe space, a relaxing evening activity to learn at a young age. Hoping to see more success we have a mini one day garden camp next week, a second round of camps the following week too, trying to squeeze in as much as possible before school starts back. But I want to watch them play.

This might be one of my new favorite uses for the garden space! I would like to have had bigger numbers for the camp but I know all good things start small. My hope is that the camp will grow each year like our Jr. Chef camps have grown and people may become more interested in being sustainable. Some days it seems like a losing battle but if we can each just reach one child then its not in vain. Today’s kids are tomorrow farmers, if we teach them 🙂