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Food for thought: Gardening with grandkids

April 27, 2021

Getting the opportunity to connect with grandkids is probably on your list this summer more than in past summers.

As generations continue to live in cities with no connection to a family farm, it is important to share gardening and farming experiences with kids and grandkids. According to the Johnson County Food Policy Council, an advisory body to the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners and other local decision-makers, it seems fundamental that children know where their food comes from, but if you ask you will probably realize that is not always the case.

Who would have thought we need to have discussions on how apples are grown, or you pull a carrot from the ground? Grandparents many times can be a bridge to this gap to the family farm. You may not have a space to garden with them and show them at your home, but we have a few ideas to allow you to get outdoors this summer and possibly even give back to the community at the same time.

Now is the time to get out to some great sites and create new memories:

  • The Beanstalk Children’s Garden is a unique urban learning environment where children are invited to see, smell, touch and taste growing plants. They’ll gasp in wonder as they learn where their food is grown, discover new favorite foods and leave inspired to make healthy choices. kccg.org/beanstalk-childrens-garden/
  • Volunteer to harvest excess produce at farms or community gardens by connecting with After the Harvest. Or shop a local farmers market and volunteer to pick up left over produce from farmers markets to be dropped off at food pantries. aftertheharvestkc.org/
  • The Heartland Harvest garden at Powell Gardens is designed to show an edible landscape. You can explore where fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and so much more comes from. Tastes tests happen throughout the season. powellgardens.org/visit/gardens/
  • If connecting with animals is more for your grandchild, then you should visit Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead in Overland Park. There are so many favorite attractions beyond the cows, chickens, goats, turkey, horses and the gardens and ponds. opkansas.org/recreation-fun/deanna-rose-childrens-farmstead/
  • Volunteer to help at a community garden that donates to food pantries. Kansas City Community Gardens helps organize volunteers throughout the entire metro and can find the right volunteer opportunity for you and your family. kccg.org/volunteer/
  • Johnson County WIC Community Garden and Orchard in Olathe aims to educate, empower and grow food for the families who belong to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and neighboring food pantries. Weekly volunteer opportunities available. jocogov.org/dept/health-and-environment/health/wic/community-garden