July 28, 2010















It’s late July and gardens are bursting with tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and chard. Tall sunflowers lean against garden fences, berries are plentiful and pots of thyme have a profusion of tiny blossoms. It is a gardener’s happiest season, the bountiful payoff for weeks of hard work in the garden earlier in the spring.

Gardening with your children is a wonderful way to teach them about food sources and the global benefits of “eating locally”…..very locally, if you are growing your own produce!

Kids enjoy the process of planting, they rejoice as everything grows, and they will love the “treats” that they pick themselves. Even a child who thinks she doesn’t like vegetables will love eating a sweet cherry tomato picked right off the vine, still warm from the sun. And kids feel like proud helpers when you send them out to get handfuls of aromatic herbs to chop for a dressing or marinade.

Even if you didn’t plant a full garden this year, it’s not too late to have some of these kinds of experiences with your family. If you have a sunny windowsill or deck close to the kitchen, plant some herbs for cooking. You can still get basil, oregano, parsley, and mint starter plants at your local gardening store.

Of course, very few of us are in a place where we can realistically grow all our own food. But, we can choose to buy our vegetables and fruits from a local organic farmer, rather than from the supermarket. A recent study from the University of Texas/Austin’s Biochemical Institute reported that the average vegetable found in today’s supermarket is lower in healthy minerals (the range was from 5% to 40% lower) than those harvested just 50 years ago.

As an added benefit, when you buy produce that has been grown locally you reduce your carbon footprint. Think about all the greenhouse gases generated in producing food that has been chemically fertilized, stored in refrigerated compartments, flown to your area and then delivered by truck to your local supermarket. Contributing to the creation of those CO2 emissions can be avoided simply by eating sparklingly fresh, locally grown produce. And, they taste better simply by virtue of having just been picked!


Posted by: Liz Nealon

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