“We see kids come into the library after school and they don’t leave until we close at night. They haven’t eaten a thing,” said Kitchener Public Library CEO Mary Chevreau. That issue was the impetus for a fantastic idea that will help children who attend the library to not only eat healthy, but learn a little something about where there snacks come from, and how to grow! It’s a program that hopes to increase “nutritional literacy” among patrons, and provide healthy snacks for summer camps and after school programs.
It involves installing a sensory herb garden and a rainbow garden in the courtyard of its main branch in downtown Kitchener. The sensory garden will be full of herbs, “Things that we can rub and smell and taste and have a sensory experience with,” said Lindsay Skeen, manager of children and teen services. While the rainbow garden will be home to vegetables that bring some colour, like tomatoes, peppers, and lettuce. Both gardens will be replacing mostly useless decorative plants and grass. The gardens have been funded by community donations, and are such an opportunity for growth, in more ways than one, and with care by the librarians as well as the community they could be for generations to come.
The more children who learn the power of growing their own food and the variety of healthy food options that can come from simple gardens, which can be maintained in a community or a back yard, the more capable they are of making healthy choices in their lives going forward as well as being able to sustain themselves. It’s teaching not just a skill, but a lifestyle option, and feeding hungry kids all at the same time. For that, the Kitchener Public Library’s Learning Gardens are your Good News Story of the Day which you can find more on, such as what “themed beds” are, here.
Story and Image from CBC.