Grow­ing the next gen­er­a­tion

The hunt is on for the best bud­ding young gar­den­ers

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Home - - GARDENING - Words Robyn Wil­lis More next­top­gar­dener.com.au

We all know grow­ing your own food has a range of ben­e­fits but top of the list is how pos­i­tively chil­dren of­ten re­spond to the ex­pe­ri­ence.

Yates hor­ti­cul­tur­al­ist, Angie Thomas, says she has watched as chil­dren have de­lighted in pulling car­rots from the earth “like they were buried trea­sure” and eat­ing radishes and peas straight from the gar­den. And that’s aside from the gen­eral health ben­e­fits of gar­den­ing which has been linked to im­proved men­tal health and ex­er­cise.

Young green thumb

In an ef­fort to get more kids in­volved in gar­den­ing, Yates has launched a com­pe­ti­tion to search for Aus­tralia’s best young gar­dener.

Chil­dren 16 years and un­der are in­vited to en­ter with the aim of be­com­ing the face of Yates’ new kids’ gar­den­ing web­site.

The win­ner will re­ceive a fam­ily trip to Mel­bourne for the Mel­bourne In­ter­na­tional Flower Show in March next year. Angie says they’re look­ing for some­one with an “in­fec­tious” love of gar­den­ing, al­though they don’t need to have a gar­den of their own.

“They might go to their grand­mother’s house to gar­den or maybe they’re re­ally in­volved in their school gar­den,” she says.

“The im­por­tant thing is that they’re en­thu­si­as­tic and will­ing to get their hands dirty.”

Re­search shows that most Aus­tralian kids love to gar­den, which backs up Angie’s ex­pe­ri­ence run­ning gar­den classes at her sons’ school.

“When they eat some­thing they’ve grown them­selves, they of­ten don’t re­alise it’s healthy.”

Put kids in charge of grow­ing their own food and watch them eat the har­vest.

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