For Jeramy and I, learning about nutrition and where food comes from, as well as developing an appreciation for this gift, is an important family value. We strive to raise Simon to not only learn how to make healthy choices, but also to understand the way that Mother Nature provides a wonderful variety of healthy things. We currently live in an apartment in the city with only a dirt path for a yard, but as soon as we have a plot of land to call our own (whether it be big or small), we will be attempting to grow some of our own food. For us, this is a way to be responsible citizens of the earth, to take pride in our ability to produce food on our own, and to connect with nature. Neither of us has any gardening experience at all, but we believe in this deeply enough that we are willing to start from square one, learning and practicing all that we can.
Simon was given an opportunity to have his very first gardening experience this week when we visited his GG (great-grandmother). GG has a vegetable garden and she brought Simon outside and showed him how to pick what was ripe and ready to be enjoyed. He picked two green peppers, a cucumber, and a few tomatoes, which we snacked on together after he was also allowed to wash them in the sink. He really enjoyed this experience, and I believe the lesson that food grows in nature (and doesn’t simply materialize at the grocery store) is a terrific one for him to have exposure to at such a young age.
Myself, I picked GG’s brain a little bit, asking about pest control. Can you believe she uses nothing!? Not even naturally made pest repellant. (Maybe those of you with more knowledge than me can, but I had never heard of such a thing.) As a strong believer in organic, pesticide free produce, I was delighted to learn of her success at using zero pesticide. She has learned ways to use certain types of compost, and to plant other things around the herbs and vegetables that protect them from most pests. Her philosophy is that, on occasion, you find a tomato or pepper eaten by bugs or animals, and that particular edible was meant for them. More simply put: you share your bounty with the other creatures around you. I am looking forward to learning more of her wisdom when I begin planting on my own.