Growing up in the 1960’s, we all heard the same refrain: ‘Go play outdoors!’. Raising children in a relatively safe and protected environment in the early 1990’s, we echoed that as well: ‘Get outside, now!’ Our children are in their 20’s, and are as plugged in as any their age. Not sure what all of that outdoor time did for them, but I never regretted the muddy footprints, dirty hands, insects in jars or rocks, shells, bones and other ‘treasures’ gathered during their exodus to the great outdoors.
In our guts, we know something is wrong. Not just from the raw data from research on childhood obesity and clinical depression among children, but from the feeling you get when you see a healthy and active young child sitting on a park bench on a gorgeous spring day, head bent and fingers busy, working on his hand held something or rather. That old adage: plugged in and tuned out. It’s understandable – these diversions are nothing if not both entertaining and addictive. A lot of time and energy and money have been spent to make sure that they are, but what are the real consequences, in the long run?
In many ways, parents, teachers and professionals concerned about child welfare are at war with these seemingly benign forms of entertainment. And, they are hard to fight – we all know from our own experiences that an hour of down time in front of the screen gives a parent a much needed break. Or, consider your own family car trips; they may have been a lot less stressful with a DVD. However, I’d argue that much was learned from the WW III skirmishes that broke out in our backseat. Social interaction, both positive and negative, teach a great deal.
Here at The Growers Exchange, we are talking a lot about the next generation – how can we make sure that gardening continues to be both relevant and beneficial? We know we are preaching to the choir on our blog, but we do want to open the conversation. Our first goal is to discover how you all, our fans and customers, began gardening. What was it that got you to start digging in the soil? The answer to that question is the beginning of a solution. If it worked for you, it should work for others – we want to begin this journey now, in hopes that by the time our children are parents, we can help nuture a new generation of gardeners who will pass this gift to others.
Here is some of the feedback we have already received from some of our Facebook fans. “Mom and Dad. Loved their garden as a child. A great fantasy land for little girls. Dad liked vegetable gardens, mother flowers.” Another fan said, “my parents, my great aunt, my brothers and sisters, and the great tasting food!” We also heard, “My mother was a great organic gardener since I can remember. She lived to be 97 and we attribute it to her clean living and eating lots of home grown vegetables.” Tell us your inspirations in the comments below!