Growing together: A great way to teach children to love food

Fall is upon us, which means harvesting veggies and fruits is in full swing for many farmers, and families around BC. This week we tracked down Jane Ferguson, who won Runner Up in our Hands-On Cook-Off contest for her Growing Together video, an inspiring look at bringing kids into the garden to teach them about food. Our judges were taken (to say the least) by the Fergusons’ green thumbs. We couldn’t help but think, “Hey, anyone can grow together!” Even if it means starting a herb garden on the kitchen counter or a tomato plant on the patio. Here we have a chat with Jane and find out more about the Growing Together family.

BT: Congratulations on an excellent video and winning Runner Up! How did you hear about the Hands-On Cook-Off contest and what made you decide to enter this year?

JF: I found out about the Hands on Cook-off contest in the North Shore News. I immediately Googled,  "Better Together" to find more information about the contest. As a family, we love growing our own vegetables and preparing our own meals together. Your contest was a snapshot of what we love doing together!

BT:  What role do you feel gardening can play in teaching children about food?

JF: The garden really is a great place for teaching and learning about food! In the garden, children learn about the life cycles of plants, about helpful ladybugs, bees and earthworms. They learn where food is grown and how it grows. In our family, we also make our own compost from kitchen scraps and unwanted vegetables so the kids learn about fertilizing, too.

BT: What are some of your favorite things to grow in your garden and teach the kids about?

JF: I’m a big fan of fruits and berries. Goji berries can grow easily here in BC and they are so very healthy for you. I grow honey berries (honeysuckle family) and lots of huckleberry, too. Plus tons of wild blackberries which my family and I enjoy picking in late fall. Another enjoyable way to spend time together in the fresh air!

BT: Can you share one of your favorite recipes?

JF: Here is my recipe for family togetherness; this is the recipe we prepared for our video!


Instructions: (if possible) All family members participate in growing
some or all of the vegetables, nurturing their growth
and harvesting.

1 medium green zucchini, chopped into bite size pieces
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
1 cupful of chopped fresh spinach
1 cup chopped purple cabbage
1 tomato chopped (optional)

Directions: Mix chopped vegetables in a salad bowl and serve with your favourite dressing. Ours was olive oil and vinegar with fresh herbs; chives, parsley and basil. And always take time to appreciate your efforts in growing such easy to grow vegetables; enjoy your meals together!  


Thanks Jane. Gardening together really is a great way for children to learn to appreciate food. Let us know if you have any stories to share with us. Have you started a herb garden in your kitchen or planted tomatoes on your patio? Join the conversation here!

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