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Cooking Magic for Kids

A Kitchen Garden Manual for urban, school , and community gardens, where the magic is cooking from a bursting with life garden.

Kids can put food on the table, improve their health, improve their enviornment and boost moral by growing an organic garden and learning to cook from scratch. The Kitchen Garden manual is a life changing recipe for health and happiness from garden to table to inspire a generation of kids to eat more fresh fruits and veggies with photgraphs by Diana Lovejoy.

Kids Go Organic

Kids can learn organic gardening to grow the most delicious and healthful food. Gardening organically produces tasty food that is good for kids, for their families, and for the environment. Most commercial agriculture uses toxic manmade chemicals and inorganic fertilizers in the soil and pesticides on the crops. Instead, kids can use kitchen and garden waste to recycle into compost to grow food grown for its flavor and nutrition and picked fresh for the next meal. Organic agriculture is grown according to strict standards to achieve the U.S.D.A. Organic Label, using organic seeds and naturally produced fertilizers and compost. Organic farmers use natural predators to control pests that destroy their crops, use earthworms to aerate the soil, and have cover crops planted to enrich the soil. When trees and plants are grown organically, they provide a healthy habitat for beneficial insects and animals and the soil is alive with microorganisms. Kids can learn to be self sufficient when they start a beautiful kitchen garden in their backyard, providing healthy food for their families and helping to heal the environment. Kids work with nature by creating an inviting habitat for natural predators, by planting close to conserve water and prevent weeds, by selecting plant varieties that best suit the region and climate, and by rotating crops to balance the nitrogen in the soil.

Kids can turn Cities into Gardens

Kids eat what they grow and families with kitchen gardens eat a healthier diet. Kids can start with herb or salad container near the kitchen door or set in a kitchen window box for daily harvesting. Kids can plant veggie and fruit gardens in raised beds in the backyard or on the roof, in pots and containers on the patio, in wall systems made of specially designed fabric pockets that are attached to a framework on a balcony or any sunny wall, or in a community garden plot. Kids can design their organic container veggie garden to be aesthetic, practical, and productive. Each plant can have the perfect soil and sun with container planting. Installing a drip watering system with a battery run timer is an inexpensive and easy way to ensure the plants are watered on schedule. Kids will be amazed by the amount of produce they can provide for the family table, as well as the beautiful display the plants add to a small outside area. Strawberry plants grow well in containers and create a focal point of interest to a small garden. Squashes or beans can climb a trellis to create a privacy screen. Kids can create a beautiful backyard living space by adding container gardens next to the patio table and seating areas. Dwarf fruit trees in large containers have sweet smelling flowers and fruits to make the outdoor living space even more delightful. Kids can plant herb and veggie containers on a deck and add beauty, fragrance, and easy access for outdoor barbeques. Kids can add veggie patches into the landscape with stone, rock, or brick raised beds. They can be terraced with stone lined beds, with a stone bench between the veggies where kids can rest and enjoy the garden. Grapes grown in pots can cover an entire fence or wall creating a spectacular display. A grow bag fabric container made of porous material is perfect for kids to grow potatoes in a small city garden. Gardens make even the bleakest neighborhoods more beautiful, recharging the spirits of the inhabitants and creating urban food self-sufficiency. Not only community gardens but under used public spaces can be used for growing food. Gardening is a great outdoor workout the whole family can enjoy together, in the oxygen rich environment of the garden worries melt away. What kids grow they want to eat and the veggies taste so good they want more. Kids can improve cities, their family’s health, and the environment with small patches of dirt and a little effort.

Seed saving enables kids to select a strain of a variety that particularly suits their garden. Kids can grow a good portion of the family’s food in containers of organic soil on a patio or balcony. Kids can choose organic seeds to grow a bountiful harvest of tomatoes, beans, and squash even in small spaces because gardening is fun and rewarding. What could be better than kids eating fresh veggies while standing in the garden? Kids go organic because local, fresh, organic produce has more nutritional value, is more delicious, and creates a better environment for everyone.

Kids Healthy School Garden

Let’s start a school garden. Kids can eat fresh organic fruits and veggies from the garden and greatly improve the nutritional value of school lunches. When kids learn to grow and prepare their own food, they learn life skills, gain confidence and self sufficiency, and experience the natural world. Picking produce from the garden and bringing it into the kitchen to prepare awakens a sense of connection to all life. Organic school gardens and cooking classes are popping up around the world, improving the health of the air, water, land, and families. Learning to cook fresh from the school garden gives kids a feeling of accomplishment. Alice Waters demonstrated the many benefits both in health and academics of the children involved in her Edible Schoolyard in San Francisco CA, which encourages meals made from scratch from school gardens, as does Jamie Oliver’s Kitchen Garden in England. Food Corp volunteers plant gardens in schools and communities throughout the country. This is an eco friendly solution to a nationwide nutrition epidemic. Most schools have a patch of dirt that can be set aside for a garden and even a greenhouse. A sunny school wall can be fitted with vertical garden Woolly Pockets to grow vegetables and herbs. Kids in cities have been alienated from nature and have no idea where their food comes from; they are afraid of bugs and getting dirty. Kids that are abused and bullied find solace in the growing and preparing of food. School gardens give kids not only food, but exercise, science projects, and the connection to what is alive on the planet around us. History, science, and math can be taught in the school garden. Aristotle said that all learning should be held outside in Nature. Voltaire said that we should cultivate our garden as tending the garden revealed all of life’s answers. Thomas Jefferson said that gardening was the crown of all the sciences. Pointing kids to the joys of growing their own food instills positive eating habits, leadership skills, and better attitudes. A school garden is a sustainable program that creates healthy kids and ultimately a healthy planet.

Kids Grow at Community Gardens

Local community gardens are outdoor class rooms where kids become aware of their environment. Every day after school and during the summer, kids can play and work in the garden. Kids can join their parents in a family plot or other students in a youth garden program. There has been a surge in the popularity of growing food at a community garden, for better health, environmental concerns, for financial reasons, and the yearning for delicious food. Garden projects help kids to learn where their food comes from and to develop healthy eating habits. Kids enjoy planning the garden, digging in the dirt, planting, and watching for small green shoots to stick up from the ground. Gardening gets kids to eat organic in season veggies that they might not have otherwise eaten. Building a raised garden bed and filling it with organic compost produces the best harvest and is a great science project for kids, bringing better health to the whole family. Sometimes kids like to count ladybugs and play hide and seek in the community garden. Often a community garden will have a Master Gardener kids can ask for advice and instruction. Community garden neighbors may be happy to share seeds, compost, and help kids with their questions. Community gardeners have giant feasts throughout the year, where everyone gets together with special dishes made from the fruit and vegetables they grew in the community garden. Local Community Gardens are a great place for kids to experience the miracle of life by planting their own garden, establishing healthy habits for a lifetime.