Our Vegetable Patch

Posted on July 17 2013 by Heather Brading in School

Let me start off by saying that I am not a huge Jamie Oliver fan , but I am hugely impressed with his effort at getting kids to eat healthier and to start enjoying the usually moaned about vegetables. In today’s culture of take- out and pre-packaged meals it is important for kids to get back in touch with where food comes from and what it looks like before it arrives on their plates hidden in the bolognaise sauce . Just as our children should be made aware that that drumstick once belonged to a chicken they should also understand where vegetables come from.

By starting the vegetable garden at the school, hopefully the children will enjoy seeing the plants grow and develop into something that they recognise and encourage them to try new tastes and flavours .

When I started planting the seeds & seedlings in the garden and all the kids gather around ( as they would when a new distraction comes along ) the why and what questions start immediately. Why are you planting vegetables? What are the vegetables? When can we eat them? Where are the carrots ? It makes me smile to hear what they like and do not like “ I love tomatoes and oooh I hate broccoli” . It also makes me realise how much we as parents assume our kids understand, when pointing out to the children the carrot seedlings and getting told that no those cannot be carrots because carrots are orange and long and that is green and looks like leaves. I realise that we so seldom see bunches of carrots with the tops still on that children have no idea that carrots grow under the ground and that they have leaves like all plants and the part we eat is the root. You also realise that it is assumed that these vegetable just arrive at the supermarkets pre-packed and ready for munching so the whole growing part is lost and the importance if farming and sustainability is missed.

This reminds me of my husband’s confession that for a long time in his life he truly thought spaghetti came from a bush…I know these are Pre-school kids but as with everything nowadays life is at a far busier and faster pace than when I was a kid, so using all opportunities of getting our kids to appreciate that being able to munch that juicy tomato is as a result of hard work and effort should be taken It also allows us to reinforce to our children why it is important to appreciate our food & where it comes from.

So by being lucky enough to have the space at Fish Hoek Pre-Primary to have this vegetable patch hopefully the children will benefit, even if it does just mean that one day ( green fingers crossed ) they can get the chance to pull up a carrot and wash it and chomp it right there and then or to pick a tomato or to try a lettuce or rocket leaf . Our children have better palates than we give them credit for and by trying new things we encourage them to think for themselves and grow and develop that little bit more each day.

So if there are any other budding parents out there keen to try their hand at growing some veges please feel free to chat and we can dig in together.