Although we do not have children, we spend our fair share of time with them. They are miniature adults who are brutally honest and often ridiculously weird. Children are hilarious.
Each week our co-founder Amanda tends to vegetable gardens at a Pre-K in San Rafael, CA. The gardens were planted to show the children where food comes from and how it grows. In a time where you can order pretty much anything online, get it canned and frozen, and picked fresh from a farm and delivered to your door within a day or two, there is a disconnect from what whole food actually looks like and how it grows.
Does it grow on a vine? Is it a bush? Do you eat the whole vegetable or just part of it?
These are some of the questions she asks the children while she is pruning and checking for pests in the garden. The children have helped plant seeds, harvest fresh tomatoes and veggies, and plant floral while discussing bees and pollen.
The children are happy to answer questions, but are much more eager to ask their own. When given an open forum to ask gardening and whole food related questions, here are a few from some very serious and inquisitive children:
Where is the mouth on the roots?
Tomatoes are red. Why are you calling that a tomato? (pointing to a green and red striped tomato)
Do plants poop?
Laugh and roll your eyes, but the questions that they have raised are pretty interesting. They do not care what vegetable can replace the gluten in their diet, or what will be the next “superfood.” They are interested in understanding the plant itself.
Amanda will be back to visit the children soon and we look forward to their descriptions of what vegetables taste like and what other questions they may have. The above questions may seem obvious or simple, but try explaining botany to a four-year-old. Answers to the questions are listed below, you know, just in case your child is curious.
Q. Where is the mouth on the roots?
A. Roots do not have mouths, but absorb nutrients and water from the soil. This is a great chance to bring back the experiment you likely did as a child, and show children how the celery will change color as it absorbs the water with food coloring.
Q. Tomatoes are red. Why are you calling that a tomato (pointing to a green and red striped tomato)?
A. Tomatoes can be all different colors of the rainbow including red, orange, yellow, white, green, purple and pink. There are over 10,000 types of tomatoes to pick from, and to think it may have never become a favorite fruit! The flavor of a tomato can be dramatically different depending upon the color and type of tomato. The next time you are at a farmers' market, close your eyes and try a bite of a Black Krim and then try Cherokee Green. The flavors are quite different, one more savory and the other sweet.
Q. Do plants poop?
A. Kind-of, sort-of. Plants do not have a stomach or digestive system, so no, they do not poop. Plants do however excrete (get rid of waste), including carbon dioxide and oxygen. Plant waste is what helps us live and breathe!