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Animals in an Edible Forest Garden

Written Sept 7, 2013

“Woah, it feels as hot as my Dad’s garage out here.” Scoffed one of the 15 children participating in the childrens’ garden day at Ecosource’s Iceland Teaching Garden on August 28th. It was a hot humid, but oh so beautiful day, in Mississauga as we painted stones and explored the garden space settled in the middle of the woody parkland.

“Can I eat it? Even if there’s dirt on it?” Questioned another young person with three others looking on with curiosity.  Kyle, one of the awesome interns with Ecosource, explained how they grow their food organically so that there is no worry of any chemicals being on the plant and that with a quick brush the cilantro is ready to be gobbled up. The many inquisitive minds kept up all the hilarious and humbling questions about nature, food, bugs, and sweat as we toured the ½ acre garden. When harvesting beans, summer squash, and turnips for the Eden Community Foodbank they would cheer at the different colours and shapes, and express their excitement about being able to help others. I thought that was pretty awesome.

After tasting some delicious herbs and plucking off some spicy peppers, which we gently slam dunked into the bucket that Anita was holding, everyone circled around the Edible Forest Garden. Paul (me) gathered the group and shared his Nature Name, which was a Barking Lion, and then asked everyone to think of a forest animal that they wanted to be. The group came up with tigers, black bears, cats, butterflies, frogs, and many others. Each being was given a piece of a plant which they had to use all of their senses (i.e. sight, smell, taste, touch, sound, and any others we could think of) to explore. We then set out, acting like our animal selves, throughout the Edible Forest Garden to try and locate where our plant piece came from. Many sniffed at the bee balm while others poked at the flowers of the comfrey. Some scratched through the siberian pea shrubs while one got distracted with his butterfly friends on the white buds of the chives. “Meow!” Cried out one child who was perched like a cat on the wooden raised bed. She had found it! Everyone gathered around the cat and broke out into their human selves bellowing out the name of the plant. It was mint, but not just any mint. It was chocolate mint!

The day continued with other activities led by the fantastic staff and volunteers with Ecosource. The children were awesome and participated full heartedly in all of the gardening activities. Pretty awesome.

You should check Ecosoure out if you haven’t already. They’re awesome and making quite the wave in the Mississauga neighbourhoods.

Thanks for reading

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