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Volunteers help preschoolers become young gardeners in Colorado

With the help of volunteers from Welby Gardens and Designscapes Colorado, these preschoolers are getting hands-on experiences in the gardens so they can help out at home.

How many times as kids did we hear our parents say "eat your fruits and veggies"? Now we know they just wanted us to eat a healthy and sustainable meal. Making that connection can be a simple as getting your hands a little dirty.

“Everyone’s getting their hands dirty today,” said Candice Leary-Humphry, Communications Director for Clayton Early Learning, “setting the stage for learning throughout the summer.”

And 5-year-old Mark Garcia knows that dirty hands and a little hard work can go a long way.

“Because I like to eat the food,” said Garcia.

Kids learning the art of gardening. (Photo: Byron Reed)

He and his classmates at Clayton Early learning are working on creating a solution for the families who live in the area.

“The neighborhood that we’re located in and a lot of our families are located in is a food desert,” said Kristen Wilford-Adams, the school's Nutrition, Health and Wellness Specialist. “So a lot of our families don’t have access to fresh produce.”

That’s why they are planting 20 large vegetable gardens on campus for a purpose.

“Many of our families do come from low income and below the poverty line,” said Wilford-Adams. “We want to build that capacity in these young children to take it back home and maybe spark and build a community garden or build a little windowsill garden if that’s all they have.”

With the help of volunteers from Welby Gardens and Designscapes Colorado, these preschoolers are getting hands-on experiences in the gardens so they can help out at home.

“They want to have access fresh produce but it’s not always convenient,” Wilford-Adams said. “We want to make that easy and that connection and that access extremely easy for our families.”

These students are making a connection with nature and helping out their own community with a little hard work.

“They have the ability to make their own food, and buy their own food and know where their food comes from,” Wilford-Adams said.

Even if it means a little extra soap at the end of the day.

“Kids need to get dirty, they need to get in touch with where their food comes from,” said Wilford-Adams.

Gardening is a delicate art. (Photo: Byron Reed)

The school said they harvest hundreds of pounds of food weekly - some of the food is sent home with students along with budget-friendly recipes for their families.

This fall, they will get a chance to showcase their fresh produce at their annual Moonbeam Harvest. For more information, click here.