Can you share a story of an experience you have had with your child in nature or in the garden?
Within weeks of our daughter being born, her father and I realized that she was instantly pacified and tuned in the moment we went outside. She could be inconsolable inside, but even getting our coats and shoes on to go out would sooth her. At 15 months, it’s exactly the same, she can be having a tantrum inside, but get her shoes on and cross the front entrance and she’s all smiles. This is great for us as edible landscapers and permaculture consultants; working outside is our livelihood and our passion. We spend multiple hours in the garden most days, and having our daughter beside us is an incredible feeling. Watching a tiny human growing alongside plants we grow and eat is a powerful experience.
Why do you feel it is important for your child to be raised with a strong connection to the natural word?
There are so many reasons! Over the years I have become extremely aware of my own emotional well being when interacting with the natural world; the feeling of being grounded, relaxed, and connected to something greater than just myself. These states of mind are not as easily cultivated in our fast-paced, technologically dependant society. If we as parents can create opportunities for our daughter to connect to the natural world, we hopefully help to foster healthy mental and emotional states as well.
What do you hope your child gets out of these experiences?
I would hope that through the experiences we have out in the garden building soil and growing food that she develops and a sense of wonder and awe of the natural world. That she feels interconnected to the world around her, and she pulls strength from that feeling. We want her to know how to create healthy soil, grow nutrient dense food, save seed and feed herself well in any climate she finds herself in in the future.
-What are some ways to build this connection with you child?
She’s hyper aware in the garden, if a bird sings, or she comes across a dandelion flower it’s noticed, and pointed out. We bring her out with us to walk the gardens, check in on our plants, and harvest food. In the past week she’s gained confidence in being out there, I’ll be doing some spring planting or adding mulch to the garden, and there she is sitting beside me, putting compost in a bucket, or digging with a stick in the soil. I get her to smell a flower or some compost and tell her what it is, show her the worms and the insects. It’s such a thrill to watch her process, reflect, and remember her experience. Now when she walks out there, she’ll go up to a plant and give it a bit of a sniff.