Kids Eat Leaves #30DaysWild – Day 14

#StayWild Tip: Inhale a wild scent. Take a few seconds to enjoy the smell of wildflowers, plants or leaves.

Tuesday evening is Youth Club night at the Project, and I always enjoy finding ways to get the young people even remotely interested in discovering their inner wild child.

I’ve tried to get some of them interested in the herbs and vegetables that we are growing. Not that I’m expecting expert gardeners,  but I like to encourage a little respect so that they will take a bit of care when playing games around the garden. I’ve revived one or two carrots that have been squashed into  suspiciously shoe-shaped holes in the soil….

While supervising the youth club,  one of the boys asked if a certain plant was mint (he was right!). He asked if he could taste it (he did! ) and surprisingly he quite enjoyed it (wait…he did???).  He waved a couple of his friends across for a sample,  and were quickly asking what else was edible. I gave a whirlwind tour of the herbs and edible plants that I could find to the ever-increasing group of interested foragers..

Some plants were vigorously and noisily rejected (parsley), but most were given patient contemplation (nasturtium “tastes like rocket”),  and they especially enjoyed the sour taste of fresh rhubarb and the scents of crushed lavender and thyme. Mostly I was just blown away that they were curious and willing to give new things a try. To my delight,  the first group then took over and starting introducing other kids to the edibles, under my supervision.

It is very satisfying to eat something that you have grown yourself, and I wonder how often children get the opportunity to grow something of their own, to nurture and care for it as it develops. It doesn’t have to be fruit or vegetables: it could be something as dramatic, yet easy to grow, as a sunflower.

As the summer rolls into autumn I’m very excited about encouraging more young people to sample the ripening crops and to discover other wild tastes and smells. Larch buds for tea, anyone?

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