Gardening the ultimate expression of faith in future
Our beautiful environment was certainly one of the main reasons many of us chose to live in Red Rock Country. Assuredly it will be up to our children and grandchildren to be the stewards of the nature we all love, and to work to solve environmental problems that they inherit.
Gardening is one of the best ways to introduce children to nature and to develop in them a love for living things and the responsibility to care for them. When children plant seeds, there emerges with the seed a sense of joy seeing them sprout and grow.
This is empowering for children enabling them to visibly experience their role as participants in the natural world.
In the act of gardening is an implicit sense of optimism and a view towards the future. If one were not optimistic that the seed planted would grow flowers and food, then why plant it?
Through gardening children develop feelings of wonder and gratitude as they experience and help grow the potential life contained in a small seed.
A garden is a microcosm of nature on a child-size scale. When children work in a garden, they develop a sense of belonging - the sense that they are part of nature and that nature is a part of them. This cultivates the desire to protect it, grows their connection to it, and produces in them the knowledge, tools, and desires to work with nature for mutual benefit.
Many adults remember happy times when they worked in a home garden. All the bright associations of sunlight, and smell; of interactions with insects, worms and bugs; the taste of a tomato, bean or fruit plucked ripe and eaten while still warm from the sun contributed to their appreciation that they helped grow the food they ate.
Gardening with one's children and grandchildren evokes those memories, and establishes a beautiful continuity of life.
Gardens for Humanity is currently working with seven school gardens in our area, and we have an art and environmental education program, "Celebrating the Art in Earth," that combines the school garden at five of those schools with nature-based art activities. When we asked a group of children why they liked to garden, they came up with many reasons that can be summarized by the phrase "Food, Fun, and Fitness!"
Our art and garden activities emphasize not only the beauty in nature but also the scientific awareness of the parts of plants, leaves, fruits and vegetables, and the cycle of life.
Children learn the interdependence of sun, earth, water and seasons in producing the food that they eat.
They become aware that their daily food consists of seeds, roots, stems, leaves and the flowers of plants. This is literally botany on their plate!
To learn more about gardening with children, about our art and environmental education program, or to sponsor school gardens and garden programs in our community, visit the Gardens for Humanity website www.gardensforhumanity.org or call 928-284-9055. We invite you to help us give the gift of gardening to children this holiday season.