#MIKidsCan Be a Gardener

Think your kids will miss out on the experience of having farm-to-table fresh produce because you live in the city. Think again!

Grand Rapids based Artist Creating Together is making it possible to enjoy farm-fresh fruits and vegetables through its Art of Gardening program. ACT offers two types of Art of Gardening program: a 14-week-long program for adults ages 16 and up and the newly formed youth program for young gardeners ages six to 10. These programs are open to the community and aim to empower individuals with disabilities to reach their potential, discover new forms of creative expression and build community.

The youth Art of Gardening program is an introductory 4-week course that allows kids to enjoy the outdoors and make new friends while learning about growing delicious, healthy foods. The young participants will not only learn how to care for a garden, but they also learn about how to cook their freshly harvested produce and create visual art projects about their gardening experience. The adult program teaches the participants about in-depth gardening, culinary, and visual art skills as they watch their produce grow until harvest. Both programs will take a field trip to the New City Urban Farm to show how it is possible to grow your own food even in an urban environment.

Becky Baker, project coordinator at Artist Creating Together, notes that this is a unique opportunity that many people with disabilities, especially those living in urban environments, do not often have. She highlights that the Art of Gardening program is a “great opportunity to learn where our food comes from, getting to see ways people are working together to host and care for a garden, seeing that in action and getting to be a part of that.” By adding the youth Art of Gardening program, ACT can teach a younger audience about valuable skills such as cooking, while introducing them to new artistic skills and forms of creative expression.

By instructing kids at a young age about their food and where it comes from, it gives them more opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and enjoy the fresh, healthy foods that they can grow on their own.

The Art of Gardening program is a welcoming environment where individuals with disabilities can come to grow in self-confidence, create new friendships and get involved in their community. For the youth program, ACT is creating an inclusive environment where the program is geared toward children with disabilities, but they are encouraged to sign up with friends and siblings who may not have disabilities.

It is not too late to be a part of Artists Creating Together’s first-ever Art of Gardening youth program! You can sign up your kids online or by mail.

Photo credit: Seattle Parks

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