Peggy's View: Kids need space to “Grow”
By Peggy Sturdivant
Although there third generation gardeners at Ballard P-Patch there is a growing need with increased density for Crown Hill residents. Nicole Stoddard shares the importance of this community for her family, husband and daughters eight and ten, after they moved from a house with a yard to an apartment with no yard.
“I love to garden and grow things, and had been involving the kids in it since they were quite small. It seems they really started to enjoy it, too. When we got our plot at the Ballard P-Patch we were overjoyed (we had to wait quite a while!). A dedicated space to plant whatever we wanted to grow, and making some new friends in our local community who liked to garden was very exciting to us.
What struck me right from our very first gardeners meeting was that everyone was very friendly and supportive. And it felt like our kids were welcome, too. I never thought to leave them at home for any part of the process, but they seemed very welcomed, which honestly, isn’t always the case for young children in predominately adult spaces.
The kids would come with us to check our plot, to the work parties, to the “Art in the Garden,” and to the yearly meetings. They are always excited to check on our plants, and then to visit everyone else in the garden at the time, to check on their plants and give them some “tips”. They love to show off our plot to whomever is working in or visiting the garden. They love to help out with projects, and to talk to and help the other gardeners. We had great fun decorating out plot for last year’s “Art in the Garden,” and they got a lot of great compliments for their hard work.
Many times I was told by other gardeners how much they loved to see kids in the garden helping, working, or just playing. I think they all enjoyed having young kids around to liven the place up a bit, and make the space feel more like a true community for all. The garden is one of our favorite spots to visit during the growing season, not only to take care of our plants, but because they get to play outside, which is not something they can do easily in our apartment. They also love seeing fellow gardeners and chatting with them, and being in charge of certain gardening tasks. This experience has been important to me, for them, because of the impact it has on them socially. Learning how to work as a team, how to communicate with others well, and how to be a part of something bigger in our local community, with our neighbors. I want them to have the experience of being part of a community that isn’t just our school community (which is wonderful), because our garden community is more diverse and a different dynamic and experience for them. And of course I want them to grow up knowing where their food comes from, and how to grow it themselves.”