Like the Market Garden and Garden Club at the Pearson Hospital, Growing Eden is very special and unique in its own way. This is a place primarily for children and their families to be together in the garden. Connected to Family Place, an ‘Early Years’ family support and parenting centre, a non-profit organization offering programs and services to families with children. Family Place is similar to a drop-in preschool, where children are accompanied by their parents and participate in storey telling, arts and crafts, singing, snacks and other creative endeavours. (Learn more here)
In the old parking lot of Family Place is where we have Growing Eden, a nature based program for the kids and families who attend Family Place. The goal of the program is to expose and integrate kids into nature, allowing them to explore it their own way, get messy, and discover their own understanding of the outdoors.
The Growing Eden garden is comprised over several raised wood beds, built by Farmers on 58th coordinators and volunteers, and sit on top of the old parking lot here. In the spring, kids and their families plant seeds and transplanted vegetables and over the summer, have a place to maintain, nurture, and harvest their crops. It is an opportunity to learn about food, gardening, to meet other families, and to be outside.
Each week, we create a lunch together with the kids, families, and volunteers. The kids always harvest whatever is ready and in season that they can contribute it to our lunch. They help make the meal as well – not just contribute the ingredients! The children also help to maintain the garden; picking weeds, shovelling leaves and debris from the gutters, etc., is surprisingly popular amongst the kids who like to have grown-up tasks.
Nature-play activities are planned each week to engage kids with the outdoor world. This includes things like storytelling, finger weaving under the shade of the trees, measuring the pumpkin, making blanket forts, and even making and playing with kid-friendly paint using vegetables such as our very own beets!
During harvest time each week, volunteers and parents set aside a portion of the yield, creating small take home harvest boxes for the kids to share with their families.
Come check us out at Growing Eden!