Kids learning the benefits of having a vegetable garden

The University of Missouri Adair County Extension is helping kids learn a bit about being out in the garden.

All summer long, kids ages 8-14 have participated in the Garden & Grow Youth Program.

The program teaches kids how to grow a productive garden from planting the seeds, fertilizing the soil, and watering plants.

Once the vegetables are grown and harvested, the kids then learn how to cook the fresh produce and make salsa, squash blossoms, vegetable omelettes, and zucchini cakes.

"We teach children how to use the produce that they are growing in their garden, and so many people don't know how to use it. In this class, we teach kids at a young age how to use produce," said University of Missouri Extension Horticulture Specialist Jennifer Schutter.

The program also helps the children socially by meeting new people.

"By growing their own garden, they are also learning how to work together as a group. We have 10 children in the program. They do work together so there is the responsibility in helping each other out in things like harvesting and watering," Schutter said.

Jennifer says the kids have learned a lot through this program and have a better appreciation for agriculture.

"The kids have learned that everything we eat whether it is a vegetable or even a hamburger, cheese. All of that can be traced back to the soil. I do think that they have a better understanding of agriculture and how agriculture works," Schutter said.

Most of the vegetables grown during the program are donated to local food pantries.

Many of the kids say they are planning to do the program again next summer.