God's in the Garden: 7 Reasons Why Today's Nonprofits Want Kids to Have Green Thumbs
Introducing children to gardening is an effective way to reach vulnerable children in any circumstance. It's worth investing in garden-oriented, nonprofit programs for children because they offer so many spiritual benefits.
Children are good candidates for this type of blooming outreach for 7 important reasons:
1. They learn to have faith and work with their Creator.
A garden provides solid proof in the wisdom of having faith in a seed. Children learn that you plant a tiny bit of something, tend it for a few months, and you are repaid with a plant that flowers or feeds you. This is a key lesson for all ages, but children who grow gardens will learn from a very young age that working alongside their Creator turns faith into a true harvest.
2. Kids who garden recognize abundance.
In a plot of land brimming with fruit trees, herbs, berries, and vegetables, no person can possibly fail to recognize the abundance provided to the earth's people. Children who understand how many different types of food can be grown gain an early appreciation for the bounty offered to mankind.
3. Gardening helps children learn gratitude.
As children begin to understand the vast array of foods they can grow, they develop gratitude for their many delicious choices. They are thankful for sunshine and photosynthesis, and they give thanks on rainy days when their gardens need watering.
4. Growing food helps kids develop good eating habits.
Children love to try the foods they grow themselves. Green veggies like beans, lettuce, and cucumbers may have been shunned by picky eaters in the past. But when a child picks the beans, the lettuce, and the cucumbers they grew themselves, they are naturally drawn to try a taste of their harvest. Kids learn that healthy eating is a positive experience.
5. Gardening skills are lifelong skills.
When you support a young person learning how to cultivate their own produce, herbs, and flowers, you give them skills they will use for their entire life. Knowing how deeply to plant seeds, how often to feed seedlings, and how to create nutritious soils are skills that kids will grow up to teach others in their communities and families.
6. Nature helps kids cope with loss and trauma.
Researchers have found that time spent in nature leads to a reduction in negative thoughts. When children have been separated from loved ones or exposed to frightening events, looking after plants in the garden can be very soothing and therapeutic. Tending a plant gives a sad or traumatized child something to focus on and look forward to, helping them see how life continues even after bad things have happened.
7. Growing local foods helps teach history and culture.
Every area has its own native fruits, vegetables, nuts, and herbs. Many local plants figure prominently in the histories and developments of towns and cities. Encouraging children to try their hand at cultivating these local specialty plants helps them learn about the hard work involved in growing their town. They also discover the ways their own culture is unique. Gardens can be planted with varieties that were grown by peoples in ancient times or by more modern cultures that children are studying in the classroom.
When you see a children's nonprofit begin its own gardening program, know that they are helping bring children peace, security, knowledge, and awareness of the Creator's important role in their lives. Get in touch with a representative from an establishment in your area, like THE LOUIS HOUSE FOUNDATION, to see what types of programs they can offer your child.