Troy Kids' Garden

Kids posing in the garden.Kids planting in the garden.

Our Kids' Gardening Program provides gardening, arts, nutrition, and environmental education to over 1,000 young people from the Madison area annually. Children from area community centers and schools plant and maintain garden beds and participate in cooking, arts and other projects at the Kids' Garden. Youth gardeners get to regularly sample the fruits of their labor right off the vine, and typically take home some of the produce that they've grown for their families. Produce from the garden is also used for cooking lessons, community meals, and donations to community centers and food pantries.

The Kids' Garden Program ties together lessons learned in school (including science, ecology, math, and English) through creative and enjoyable experiences at the gardens and natural areas. The program aims to improve the nutrition and health of program participants by developing life-long interest in food production and healthful eating habits while building skills in gardening and food preparation.

A girl picking some berries.By growing the garden and exploring Troy's natural areas, youth develop a connection with nature that is often difficult to establish in an urban setting. The Kids' Garden provides young people with an accessible outdoor classroom in their neighborhood where they can develop a continuous and meaningful relationship with the natural world. In addition to learning about important natural processes like the nutrient cycle, young people at Troy Gardens are given an opportunity to develop an emotional connection to the land. For example, in the Kids' Garden, children develop affective ties to the natural world as they plant and care for plants, hold chickens, and hunt for sweet summer mulberries. In addition, the safe and supportive environment of the Kids' Garden offers children a nurturing community place to feel respected and valued. This past summer, after tasting a raw rhubarb stem for the first time, one child declared, "This tastes better than sour candy!"   Another child exclaimed, "I'm so happy to be here.  It's a great day!

Contact Ginny Hughes, Kids' Garden Manager, for more information (608-957-9352, ginny@communitygroundworks.org).

A girl petting a chicken.