Gardening with my daughter has provided fun, hands-on opportunities to show her how food is grown. But when my friend Amy mentioned her plan to help her boys plant and care for a row of low-maintenance zucchini plants along their front sidewalk with a sign encouraging passers-by to help themselves, I started thinking about how I could use gardening to teach my daughter about service, too. This summer, we’ll incorporate serving others into our gardening efforts by doing the following:
• Planting an extra row of crops my daughter can help care for, harvest and donate to a local food pantry or shelter.
• Cultivating "indoor gardens" — small pots with herbs or flowers — for seniors we know who are no longer able to do the gardening they once enjoyed, and spending time visiting with the recipients when we deliver the plants.
• Selling our extra veggies at a local farmers market that offers a "community booth" where home gardeners can sell fruits and veggies without paying the usual vendor fees. Then, we’ll brainstorm ways to use the proceeds to bless needy families in our community.
This article appeared in the Summer 2013 issue of Thriving Family magazine. Copyright © 2013 Focus on the Family. ThrivingFamily.com.