Recently, I transplanted a few extra strawberries from the field into pots so I could take them home and grow them on the balcony. I like to surround myself with as many different plants as possible at all times, and strawberries were something I wasn’t growing at home.
As I was carrying my new little seed starts up the steps into our apartment, I ran into a little girl who lives downstairs. As I passed, she commented on the strawberries saying that they were “pretty” and “nice”. Seeing her eyes widen as she examined the plants, I knew she was excited about them.
Her excitement about these few plants was the most exciting thing to happen to me all day. I’ve brought plants home before, passing many people who just ignored or gave me weird stares that obviously said: “what do you think you are doing trying to grow plants in an apartment!?!”
So, as I explained to the little girl what the plants were, my next reaction was to give her one of my few strawberries. I wanted to further her excitement about plants and hopefully spark interest in more than just strawberries, and what was right in front of her.
I remember when my mom first planted strawberries in a multi-leveled pot. I was so surprised that this those little green leaves produces bright red, juicy strawberries. When we wanted more than strawberries, we planted carrots in the backyard. Not knowing any better, I pulled those carrots way too early. I guess we ended up having a carrot snack instead of full carrots but hey, everyone learned something.
Kids are so impressionable and want to learn about everything. Although most kids know a lot more company logos than plant species these days, this has to change. Many people see plants as dirty work or manual labor. But if we want to continue enjoying the beauty of nature and continue to feed ourselves, this has to change. Inspiring kids to learn about and be excited about plants is the best investment in our future.
This is exactly what I wanted to when I gave the strawberry to the little girl. She immediately ran inside to show her mom and all of her siblings. Too excited to even say goodbye, I was left standing there with one less strawberry plant. One less strawberry plant in hand but chills going down my spine when I thought about all of the good I might have just done for our future.
Teaching kids the intricacies of plants is of vital importance to everyone. It is a fun project, a good dead, and will bare mountains of food for us in the future. Just look at me, a few strawberries and carrots as a kid has evolved into every window sill stuffed with plants and a full career into plant life. Give a child a plant today and feel the love for years to come.
Photos: Unsplash, Elizabeth Adan
Jake Frazier is an outdoor enthusiast and the owner of Residential Ecology, a sustainable ecological resource management company. He uses existing natural systems to improve the quality of life for both humans and the Earth. Jake is interested in permaculture, living systems and exploring. Connect with him on LinkedIn.