There’s a saying that goes something like, “Gardening requires a lot of water… Most of it in the form of perspiration!” And it’s fair to say the 50 or so kids and adult volunteers who showed up last weekend for Healthy Living Club’s Plant Day at Bridge Ministry of Acadiana understand the meaning of that saying more than ever!
Last Friday, Bridge Ministry’s after school program partnered with the Healthy Living Club (a Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation, Challenge for a Healthier Louisianagrant supported project) and the American Heart Association to host Plant Day. Kids and their adult supervisors filled 10 garden beds with dirt before planting a series of vegetable plants.
“The kids mostly did all the work,” said Jennifer Reynaud, executive director of Bridge Ministry of Acadiana. “And these are kids who don’t have a lot of access to fruits and vegetables. It’s much easier for them to reach for processed foods. But we’re trying to show them, hey, you can grow your own stuff, too! And if they grow it themselves, chances are, they’ll at least try it. And that’s a start.”
In fact, some of the kids were so unfamiliar with fresh produce, they seemed a little surprised at what they could actually grow!
“Some of them didn’t know where cucumbers came from,” Reynaud said. “They didn’t know they came from the ground. They’d say,’Like, you mean, that’s how you get that?’ “
And though the kids had a blast, and planted with enthusiasm through the day, they weren’t so thrilled with the fall season planting schedule.
“Because we mostly lettuce,” Reynaud said. “That didn’t excite them as much. They want to plant things like tomatoes and watermelons! I told them we will, eventually. But we’ve got to start somewhere!”
The hope is that the kids will get parents involved and simply take over the maintenance and planting of each bed.
“Once we get the parents involved, then we can grow this even larger,” Reynaud said. “We’re hoping this is just the beginning!”