Ultimate Locavore: Backyard GardeningAuthor:Lindsey Shook
Sara Mossman has a simple message for parents worried about their kids’ health: Grow your own food. According to Mossman, a designer of edible gardens and home-greening consultant, youngsters who eat the food they grow don’t need to worry about obesity (hard to gain weight on a high-veg diet) and are rarely finicky eaters (she claims the problem is getting the food to the kitchen before it goes into small mouths). And if you are worried about aesthetics, her gardens are proof that functional can be pretty.
Although she works for all kinds of people, most of her clients are parents who want to stage a mini back-to-the-land movement for their children. “It’s good to get them into sustainability early on,” she says. “We used to be a lot more connected to the land and to plants, and we’ve lost that. Having a garden is a fun way to reconnect.” Here’s are a couple of raised beds (created from a great kit from Victory Gardens of Marin) she installed in a Mill Valley lawn:
They are easy to assemble and measure 4 x 8 ft and 2 x 8 ft. In mere weeks, they were spilling over with lettuce, bush beans, tomatoes, peppers, kale and chard.
“The family consists of two adults and two children. Their little garden produced so much last summer, they were giving away beans and lettuce,” says Mossman. “Their son set up a produce stand in the front lawn and started selling vegetables.”
Mossman also helped The Harmony Montessori School in Mill Valley create a garden after they received a grant that allowed them to do so. They started with four small beds.
But soon the whole school was reaping (and eating) the fruits of their labor.
“People can be intimidated by gardening at first, but they tend to really get into it,” says Mossman, who is available to design and set up gardens, coach new gardeners, teach technique and even tend the plots. “It’s amazing how much better food tastes when picked at its peak and eaten right away. It’s also amazing how much kids like to eat what they grow.”
Mossman, who was previously a high-end floral designer, says the wide variety of textures and forms in vegetables and native plants make them a lovely addition to any landscape.
“In an age when time is our most valuable commodity, growing your own food is a way to get more bang for your hour,” she says. “It means less time in a car en route to the grocery store, more time outdoors and less time for the kids to spend playing video games and watching T.V.”
Mossman will be speaking at an Earth Day edible garden event on April 24 at Argonne Community Garden in San Francisco. Visit saramossman.com or call 415-269-8364 for more information.
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