Bears do it. Squirrels do it. Bees do it. People do it, too. As the days get cooler and shorter we begin to store up for winter. Perhaps this is something people in warmer climates don’t feel the need to do. In Minnesota we look at our productive fall gardens and know it is time to freeze corn on the cob, vine ripened tomatoes, carrots and beans. We make applesauce, pickled beets, and refrigerator pickles out of our fall bounty. We want to preserve the freshness of our summer veggies. Vegetable gardens, farmers’ markets and CSA farms are busy places right now.
This month our students will begin harvesting our carrots, potatoes, beets and the rest of our tomatoes. Tasting their goodness is one of our goals. Children will eat veggies if they can pick their own, and maybe add a little dip. Harvesting food is another experience we want children to have. Learning where our food comes from is an exciting experience. I just visited with a friend who owns a garden center. She invited her foster daughter’s boyfriend (from Chicago) to harvest carrots from their garden with them. He looked at her and asked how one does that. Do they grow on trees? She thought he was teasing. He was not. The fact they grew in the ground was news to him, news he was excited to learn. Hopefully, your children will come to know their vegetable sources early in life. Digging, cleaning, picking and eating our produce will teach them the value of growing good food. We’ll bag up our extra veggies and send them off to the food shelf. That will help us learn the value of serving others in our community. So far our school has donated 53 pounds of produce to Ralph Reeder Food Shelf. We hope to make it over 100 pounds this fall!
If you are looking for a good picture book about the miracle of growing a garden, read “Mortimer’s First Garden” by Karma Wilson. Mortimer thanks God for the miracle of his sunflower harvest and prays for a friend to help eat his new seeds!