The Chicago middle school kids who garden with Natasha Nicholes at the urban farm she created are certainly focused on fun—sometimes so much that they don’t realize they’re taking in life skills, too.
“Kids who get involved in gardening gain confidence,” says Nicholes, who started the We Sow We Grow Project in 2016 with her husband to teach gardening skills to neighborhood families. “They gain an appreciation for slowing down and enjoying life as it comes, instead of rushing the process.”
Studies have shown that early exposure to nature can lead to better mental health as adults. And “nature” can include a garden. “Whether it's on the windowsill, in the backyard, around your apartment building, or at school, the garden is an opportunity to nurture good mental health in our kids,” says Cam Collyer, senior advisor at Evergreen in Toronto.