Lents’ Children’s Garden helps kids grow — by teaching them how to garden

See the smiles on their faces as these kids learn the importance of growing food in their very own garden space …

In the Lents Children’s Garden are (Back row) Saige Keikkala; Bailey Schweitzer; Sarah Goforth–Children’s Gardening Educator; Mara Reynolds, Assistant ‚Äì (Middle row) Row: Joshua Keikkala; Madison Keikkala; Josh Ashbaugh; Grace Vu ‚Äì (Front row) Krista Ashbaugh (the young man with the squash); Jacob Ashbaugh.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
Instead of scolding their children for getting their clothes soiled, some parents in outer East Portland are encouraging their kids to go out and “dig in the dirt” this summer.

These kids are taking part in a Portland Parks and Recreation program that teaches gardening skills to youngsters.

“We have 30 different community gardens around the city,” the Parks Department’s Children’s Gardening Educator, Sarah Goforth, told us when we visited. “Of these, three garden plots are reserved for children’s gardening. One of these Children’s Gardens is here in Lents.”

This program helps youngsters learn healthy eating habits, Goforth continued, as well as understand nutrition and discover the natural world in the community garden, close to their home.

She said that children’s gardening classes are open to kids ages 6-12 years old. And, they’re absolutely free of charge. “During the program, kids learn how to grow and care for organic vegetables, as well as learn about soil, insects, compost, biodiversity, and much more. Together, we make snacks, fresh from their own garden and the kids get to take home extra produce to share with their families.”

Goforth said the classes aren’t limited to the summer months, but extend into the fall.

The only such program in outer East Portland so far is at Lents Community Garden, on SE 88th and Steele. The Children’s Gardening Program runs every Thursday from 9:00-10:30 a.m.

For more information, or to reserve your child’s place in this FREE program, contact Goforth at (503) 823-1617 or childgard@ci.portland.or.us.

© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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