After summer lunches, kids at the Boys & Girls Club of Morgan County in Mooresville learn more about where their food comes from — and how to grow some of their own.
Members of the Morgan County Master Gardeners volunteer once a week at the Boys & Girls Club, teaching kids about gardening and growing vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers.
“The focus is on eating healthy and sustainable foods,” says Chris Tann, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club. Master Gardener Beckie McGuire also stresses the opportunity to engage children to enjoy the outdoors.
The children who participate are exposed to different types of gardening. They learn about raised beds, container gardens and aquaponics systems, where water used for aquatic animals is then recycled as nutrients in hydroponics (cultivating plants in water without soil), which in turn purifies the water for the system.
Members of the Boys & Girls Club have a hand in growing foods start to finish and taste foods they may never have tried before — foods like peppers, squash and radishes. They learn about nutrition and preparing food such as salsa, pickles and lavender cookies.
The club recently moved to a new location with improved outdoor space. With three times the garden area, Tann says it will be more like a small version of a community container garden.
“We’re coming up with some great ideas to use the space,” he says.
But food isn’t the only thing being grown and nourished, Tann says. He is most proud of the relationships that are developed between the children and Master Gardeners.
“The neat thing for me is the mentoring that happens,” Tann says. “It’s a perfect example of volunteers working with kids to share some content and have some fun.”
Master Gardener hours volunteered to the program with the Boys & Girls Club of Mooresville.