The value of showing kids (and subsequently parents…) how food grows and some other biodiversity

Assistant Prof. Dr. Stefan Geisen, Wageningen University

Image author: Stefan Geisen

As an ecologist and (soil) biodiversity scientist, I am always interested in nature. But I also see the need for food, and therefore agriculture. What I long did not understand is that many kids nowadays do not even know how their very basic food, like potatoes grow. What I was also surprised about and learned outside the university bubble, that many kids don’t even know some very basic plants and animals that they encounter daily (like birch or pine trees…).
Luckily, my wife is a teacher, we have a large garden and kids in school and kindergarten. Therefore, we let the kids come, plant their own plants and later harvest. It was fascinating to see how kids experience being in semi-nature, being amazed how little seeds become huge plants (like pumpkins) and subsequently enjoy their own food. Some parents even created some great dishes for all like cake. While being in the garden, we could show them diverse little soil creatures, insects, birds and plants — an experience many kids really appreciated.
My take-home? Lets get as many people outside to experience nature, both edible but also all the other things!

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