Our garden, our bees and knowing where your food comes from

gardening

Elliot as beekeeper // one of our bees collecting pollen // our salad greens // chief beekeeper taking out the frames

 

“I want more spinach,” he said to me, squinting in the sun.

A little part of my heart thrilled to hear a nearly four year old say those words. I reached over and plucked another leaf from the plant, and handed it over.

“Yum,” he said as he wandered off. “Is that more spinach?”

“No, that’s arugula.”

“Argooola.”

“You know, they call it rocket in London, I think that’s a cooler name,” I tell him.

“Yes,” he looks relieved not to have to try and say arugula again. “Rocket!”

That was yesterday morning, standing on the roof of our building. We have a communal vegetable garden up there, along with our two beehives. Every morning it’s not raining, Elliot and I go up to fill the bees’ water dishes (plant saucers full of small rocks for perching) and turn on the soaker hose winding through the tomato bed. Often we have a wander through the beds and discuss how it’s all coming along.

Together with some of the other children in the co-op, Elliot planted some snap peas from seed, which are currently working their energetic way up a teepee. He heard all about the bees when they arrived and came up with me that first morning to fill their dishes and watch as the sun hit the hives for the first time. He points to every plant, asking me ‘what’s that?’ and will try most of it at least once.

It’s the first step in understanding where his food comes from, and what it looks like when it grows. This may seem like not a big deal, but he’s grown up in the middle of cities. I think he’s seen a field or an actual farm twice in his short life. I know we’re lucky to have this rooftop garden and these fascinating hives, right here at home.

Next I’ll have to start lobbying the city to have goats on our common green space…

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