Watching some of the kids in our junior youth group see food growing on a plant for the first time in their lives was an awesome experience.  One of them, who likes to act habitually disinterested about everything, was completely blown away by the experience.  Raspberries on the bush.  Mint growing straight up from the dirt.  Dill: “It tastes like pickles!” Pumpkins in an actual pumpkin patch. 

Even better was when we dropped him off at home afterwards.  He ran up the front steps to his mother, who was sitting on the porch, and jumped into her lap.  “Mama, eat this!”

“That’s poison ivy, you can’t eat that!”

“No, eat it Mama, it’s mint!”

She pulled a peppermint candy out of her pocket.  “I have a mint.  This is mint.”

“But this is mint on a plant!”

I confirmed for her that he wasn’t trying to trick her, that it actually was mint grown in the garden we’d just visited.  She tasted it.  Her son was thrilled.

Added bonus: the garden, grown using permaculture principles, is primarily tended by youth in the neighborhood, who then get the experience of selling their produce at Findlay Market.  The folks who run the project were very impressed by our group who came to help (we had a blast digging up bricks and rocks from an adjacent lot so that they can expand), and want to talk about working together in the future.  I can’t wait.