For most inner city dwellers, veggie gardens and fruit trees are few and far between. We’ve come a long way from the times when the family farm was our only source of nourishment and hands-on veggie gardening was part and parcel of growing up.

The connection between paddock and plate is important for kids as they grow into adults making food choices for themselves. A recent UK study revealed that many kids couldn’t even identify common vegetables, let alone tell you where they came from. Half of the children didn’t know how broccoli grew while 4% believed that pumpkins grew on trees. The good news is that it’s simple and fun to teach kids about the origin of their food by getting them involved in growing it. Let them get hands-on in the garden. Planting, tending and harvesting vegetables together can create curiosity and excitement about real food while strengthening the bond between mother and child.

Get their hands dirty! Involve them in the planting process, and get a mixture of seeds and seedlings so your child can see how plants progress. Giving them child-sized tools will make them feel like this is a job that’s specially meant for them and engage them further. And let’s not forget – anything to do with dirt is always a winner for kids (less so for mums; get those plastic aprons on)!

Children are naturally curious to explore and understand the world around them. The Vegecation school holiday program at Centro Box Hill is a free educational experience which helps children learn where their food comes from. It also highlights the importance of including fruit and veg in your diet as well as equipping children with the skills they need to make healthy eating decisions.

Event details
What: Vegecation – a fun and engaging community school holiday activity
Where: Centro Box Hill North Precinct (near the food court), Box Hill, Melbourne, VIC 3128
When: 23 – 27 January 2012
What time: 11am to 2pm each day, interactive play times: 11.30am and 1pm
Who: Aimed at children aged six – 15 and their families
Price: FREE to attend


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by Morgan Bailey