4 Reasons Gardening Is a Great Activity for Families

I was first introduced to gardening as a kid by my grandparents. Years ago, they planted a large garden in a meadow below their property, and it became their pride and joy after retiring. In all of my childhood memories, my grandfather was down in the garden tending to his plants or trying to keep out the latest pest. He cared deeply about the quality of the food he grew, and it showed in its taste. Eventually going on trips to their home once or twice every summer to help with harvesting and canning became a fun activity for my family, and I especially looked forward to taking home jars of my grandfather’s famous lima beans and purple hull peas. They were so delicious!

It was through watching my grandparents grow food for us that I learned early on how much fun it can be to see a plant grow from a tiny seed to something you can pluck right off the vine and eat. If you’re wanting to instill a desire to grow food in your family, here are a few reminders to help make gardening seem fun instead of tiresome:

1. GARDENING CAN IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH. Planting, whether in pots or raised beds, is a rigorous yet rewarding way for you and your family to get in your daily exercise. It’s also a great excuse to get everyone away from screens and out into the sunshine so you can soak in some Vitamin D. And if you have picky eaters, getting your kids involved often leads to their wanting to eat the fruits and vegetables they helped grow. Physical health aside, it can also be good for your mental health! Research shows gardening can result in a decrease in cortisol levels, which has been linked to better mood, lower blood pressure, and a stronger immune system.

2. GARDENING CAN BE AN OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN. Even if you’re a seasoned pro, there’s always something new to learn about gardening, but it can be especially educational for kids. Gardening can teach them valuable skills, such as organization, responsibility, and patience, and it can increase their creativity and self-confidence. Consider getting them involved by asking for input on what to grow, putting them in charge of a plant, or buying them a journal so they can track plant growth over time.

3. GARDENING CAN BE GREAT QUALITY TIME. Setting up a regularly scheduled time to be in the garden is a fun and productive way to be with the people you love for an extended period. Not only can it help you develop a shared interest, but it can also increase trust and deepen your connection to one another as you learn how to take care of your plants together.

4. GARDENING CAN IMPROVE FOOD SECURITY. The biggest tangible benefit of growing your own food is that it offers another level of food security for your family. Studies show that, just by growing your own produce, you can save as much as $800 each year. That extra money can go a long way and makes the work 100% worth it!

This article was originally published in the March/April 2023 issue of our bi-monthly newsletter, The Morsel. If you’d like to read more stories like this one and stay up to date on the latest co-op news and events, pick up a print copy in-store on your next grocery run or find more news on our website here.

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