Juniors Garden Club helps Alberta kids learn where their food comes from

CALGARY — Agriculture for Life (Ag for Life) has partnered with Calgary Horticultural Society to offer a program aiming to continue education by encouraging kids to explore, learn new skills and build confidence by growing their own food.

“The Calgary Horticultural Society (are) experts in gardening so we’ve come together to offer this program,” said Luree Williamson, Ag for Life CEO. “It’s the first year but we already know based on popularity that this will be a program that we continue to develop through the years.”

“We are excited to connect with a whole new generation of growers through this great partnership, we share a desire to educate on what it means to garden in Alberta,” said Natasha Guillot, executive director of Calgary Horticultural Society in a release.

The Juniors Garden Club runs for 14 weeks starting on Wednesday, May 27th and includes many vibrant hands-on activities and specially- tailored recipes for kids aged eight to 12 but Williamson says even more kids want to be part of the club.

“So, we said, ‘Hey, if anybody wants to take part in it they sure can,'” said Williamson. “So we’ve had kids aged three and up registered for the gardening program.”

The program encourages natural interest and teaches youth the techniques of growing food in small spaces while using gardening and food activities to support learning objective.

From planting a tiny seed and prepping soil to making a fresh salad, the Juniors Garden Club connects children to food and their environment. Sisters Kaja and Anya Pain are taking over part of their mom’s garden on the family farm near Millarville.

“It’s interesting and good to know where your food comes from,” said 14-year-old Kaja.

“Yeah, I always enjoy fresh food and knowing where it comes from and stuff like that,” said 12-year-old Anya. “It’s also very delicious!”

Ali Cannon, the girls’ mom, says it’s important kids know where their food comes from and she’s looking forward to watching her daughters experience in the garden.

“I think that the reward is going to be great as they grow, they nurture and then eventually they get to reap the rewards and abundance of what they’ve done,” she said.

Ag for Life believes teaching children how to grow their own food is key to promoting good health as well as increasing children’s preference for fruits and vegetables which leads to healthier eating habits in the future.

“We’re going to actually take it a little bit further and we’re going to talk about food waste,” said Williamson. “So, how not to waste food, whether you’re composting or using all of what you’ve grown so we’re going to take them on the full agriculture adventure.”

For more information on the Juniors Garden Club and to register visit www.agricultureforlife.ca.