start gardening

Unlike many of the staff here at KidsGardening, I am not an expert gardener; nor have I been gardening since childhood. In fact, this past summer was my first gardening season! I’ve been passionate about health and how food connects us to nature for many years, but it took a while for me to find the time and space in my life to “dig in.” I’m so glad I finally did! As soon as I began, it was like I had found a piece of myself that I didn’t know was missing. Since then, my health, my happiness, and my sense of purpose have blossomed.

start gardening
The author in her happy place.

I’m not sure what originally planted this seed for me. Trying to think back on what it might have been, one summer when I was maybe seven or eight stands out. I remember eating a tomato and recognizing that there were seeds inside. I knew that plants grew from seeds, so I wanted to see how a tomato grew! Keeping it a secret from my parents, I pulled out all the seeds of the tomato and brought them outside to plant. I found a spot right up against a fence (certainly not enough room for a tomato plant to grow!) in the driest, sandiest soil imaginable. Needless to say, the tomato plant didn’t grow. I checked back every day that summer to see if my plant had sprouted.

While I didn’t get to see a tomato plant grow that year, I think the connection I made of food as a living, growing, reproducing thing - just like me – left its mark. When I got to college and started to learn about some of the big issues our world is facing, those related to food and agriculture really resonated with me.

I often wonder what life would have been like if I did get a chance to grow a tomato plant as a young child. How would the many social, emotional, academic, and nutritional benefits of gardening have affected my life? I’m grateful that I found it when I did; and that I now have the opportunity, as a part of KidsGardening, to help share that experience with as many children as possible.

With the holidays upon us, many of us are making our year-end contributions. As a member of our community and someone who understands the value and life-changing effects of gardening, I’d like to ask you to join me in making a gift to KidsGardening this season. It only takes $12 to plant the seed of gardening in one child’s life. You can be that difference for a child and become part of our mission to create generations of happier, healthier kids with close connections to their food and community, and engaged in nurturing a healthy planet.

What planted the seed for you? Leave a comment and let us know. We’d love to hear your story!

Blog by: Kristen Wirkkala

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