Michelle Obama’s rather basic kitchen garden comes loaded with politics and possibility. It can bring organic practices fully into the mainstream; it can teach children where food comes from and about nutrition and health; and it can supply State dinners with fresh, local food.
I hope teachers and parents around the country use the White House garden story as a starting point to help kids learn more about what they eat. In Chicago, I volunteer with the Resource Center, a non-profit group that turns vacant lots into organic farms. On an urban corner where the Cabrini Green housing projects once stood, there are now rows of tomatoes, corn, greens, and herbs, as well as a farm stand. School groups tour the garden, and I love watching kids dive in with all of their senses, sample things that were picked just minutes earlier, and discover that they actually like the taste of vegetables. I wish more kids around the country could have that immediate experience, but books and Web sites can help bridge the gap. Why not celebrate Earth Day this week by focusing on food? This Book Links article gives a round-up of children’s books about the edible world. And while you’re talking with children about where food comes from, why not also share a few titles about kids in the kitchen?