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Grow Your Veggies. Eat Your Veggies

Watch Out, Jolly Green Giant!

Today my girlfriend Loren posted her winter harvest color wheel on Facebook. She grew organic beets, broccoli, turnips and red cauliflower. Earlier in the week, down in Florida, reviewer Debbie Glade showed off her heirloom tomatoes and gave readers on her blog her secret tomato sauce recipe with directions and photos! Okay so how do I make my vegetable soup you ask? By taking a trip to the supermarket and buying it there! I so envy the freshness and tastiness of my friends’ latest hauls, but do not have a green thumb. Never did. That’s why I had a vicarious experience reading It’s Our Garden: From Seeds to Harvest in a School Garden by award-winning author and photographer (of more than one hundred books), George Ancona ($16.99, Candlewick Press, ages 5 and up).

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Do you fancy yourself a gardener? Well author Ancona was curious when he learned that the Acequia Madre Elementary School in Santa Fe, New Mexico had a garden so he paid it a visit. Turns out a lot of the staff, students, parents and other volunteers were digging in and helping out to make that garden grow. In this new book Ancona documents how he spent the better part of year getting to know a lot of green thumbs and watching plant life in its seasonal cycles.

By reading the 48 pages filled with fabulous photos, kids will get a great taste of what went into the planting and caring for this successful school garden. Having a school garden means many garden projects can be planned so children can learn first hand about where our flowers, fruits and vegetables come from (and I don’t mean the supermarket!). From choosing what seeds to plant, making compost, planting seeds, transplanting seedlings and all the other steps gardeners must take to assure a viable crop, It’s Our Garden provides a terrific glimpse into the process the whole family will enjoy … and perhaps try to copy.

While I am certain Debbie Glade’s favorite part of the book was reading about all the creatures that live in the garden (and the accompanying photos), mine by far was seeing the students enjoy eating the fruits of their labor!  In addition to kids benefiting from It’s Our Garden, the book would make an ideal teacher gift and should be on the shelves in every elementary school classroom.

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