Empowering kids to grow food
Otter Tail County – East
Otter Tail County – East Master Gardeners and the Junior Master Gardener Program partnered with the local 4-H Program and the Boys and Girls Club to teach kindergarten through sixth-grade youth horticulture principles and practices for growing food.
Every week Master Gardeners taught a different lesson rooted in science at the 4-H Children’s Garden. Students learned what plants need to thrive, the difference between annuals and perennials, and what pollinators do. Hands-on activities such as building bug hotels for beneficial insects and visiting a local greenhouse to learn about careers in horticulture brought kids closer to how food is produced.
Digging, watering and weeding provided physical activity. The kids became enthusiastic about their garden and, in turn, vegetables. They enjoyed nutritious snacks while learning about nutrition and safe food handling. One parent said of her daughter, “She insisted we try eating beets. I don’t think I’ve ever even eaten a beet before!”
At the end of each day’s time in the garden, students wrote in garden journals to reflect on what they did and learned.
At the end of the season, the kids proudly presented “Dinner from Dirt,” where they helped prepare a meal with vegetables from their garden.
“They are asking if they can be in the garden again next year,” said one parent.