Have you ever thought about taking on an allotment? Before we moved into our current house we had an allotment for a few years and it was an amazing place to spend time with our boys. It's such a wonderful education for kids to see exactly where their food comes from and see it growing from seed to harvest. If you don't have a garden or a lot of garden space, having a family allotment is a brilliant way find the space to grow your own.
As part of my new Growing Food with Kids Series here on the Eats Amazing blog, I’ve asked some of my blogging friends to share their top tips and today the lovely Katy from Katykicker.com has written this great post about the benefits of growing food on an allotment when you have kids.
I’m the parent to a very active 17 month old - with a number of food allergies and a rare allergy syndrome called FPIES. This means that day to day food is quite a big deal in our household. When I was pregnant with our daughter I watched a documentary about children with my husband. Out of a whole class full of primary aged children just one child knew where chips came from (potatoes!) and where potatoes came from (the ground). Many of the children thought chips came from the freezer - or the supermarket. While this is quite an innocent observation, and doesn’t necessarily mean those children don’t get taught about healthy eating, or growing food, it got us thinking about owning an allotment.
Move forward to now, two years later, and we have two plots, totalling over 350m². Feeding my daughter healthy, nutritious food has become a big deal to me. I want my daughter to grow up healthy, strong and be adventurous with new foods. Since weaning I have made it my personal mission to get her to try all fruits and vegetables, and fortunately her allergies are not related to these. Well, not much! Having our own allotment has helped us to have a great supply of extra fresh fruit and vegetables.
As my daughter is only a toddler it is a little difficult to keep her entertained while at the allotment. However, there are days when we have to visit together to water the plot and check everything over. I like to make sure that I pack snacks, lots of water, my charged iPhone (for a bit of Peppa Pig) and a book or two. My daughter, Daisy, gets to sit in the sunshine and relax for half hour and I can tend to our plot. Daisy is starting to become more interested now that she can walk around and explore the dirt.
During the summer months, as more produce is ready for harvesting, I have been taking Daisy to visit the allotment more. Being able to feed her fresh peas, blackberries and raspberries has been fantastic. Daisy is always keen to eat food that has been picked fresh and when we took her to a pick your own farm she was thrilled to be able to sample everything!
For me I feel that having an allotment is a real family affair. My husband and I used to imagine ourselves bringing Daisy up to get involved with digging and that time is starting now. Next year, from the Spring, we are going to have a little patch of dirt where she can do some digging herself. Perhaps even plant a few sunflowers or even some outdoor tomatoes.
I think it is really important to learn where food comes from. Having my daughter has made me a more conscious consumer, wanting to buy better quality produce, higher welfare meat and do what I can to cut down on waste. We make sure that we freeze all excess produce, or donate to friends and family. Daisy is already learning how food grows and that you can pick food and it. Obviously I am aware that this isn’t always the best thing to teach a child - if they are unsupervised for any period of time. Daisy has already sampled some blades of glass and a few Daisies too. Daisy by name, Daisy by nature! Still, visiting our allotment is always an uplifting part of our day and I feel blessed that we have the time and resources to grow our own produce, cook it together and enjoy healthy foods.
If you'd like to read more about the benefits of gardening with the kids, check out these 12 brilliant reasons to grow food with kids or have a look at some of the other projects in our Growing Food with Kids section here on the blog.
I hope you found this post useful, please pin it if you did! For more posts about growing food with children, check out the Growing Food with Kids section here on the Eats Amazing blog or pop over and follow my Gardening With Kids Pinterest board for more inspiration from all around the web.