As I spend this spring writing my book, tentatively titled SuRu’s Garden Adventure, I’m thinking about who my ideal reader would be. There is no use writing a book about gardening with and for kids for those who already have their hands in the dirt. This book will be written for those who find the idea of gardening and growing food intimidating. We will transform fear into fun.
Years ago, when I was teaching cooking classes out of my home and in other venues, many people who attended my classes did so because they found cooking to be time-consuming and overwhelming. I gave them recipes and strategies that were easy to pull off and delicious. I’m not a trained chef, but I’ve become one heck of a good cook over the years and so have my kids. I’ve shared plenty of food on my website, you’ll find over 70 recipes on this blog.
Growing food can be the same as cooking. Yes, there’s a learning curve, you’ll make a few mistakes, but its really not rocket science. You’ll have delicious results in no time!
It’s easy to roast veggies, it’s also easy to grow some spinach, salad greens, sting beans and peas. My book will show you how to do both. Feeding your family from food grown close to home has many benefits.
Wandering around bookstores is one of my favorite things to do. This past week, I was fortunate to visit independent bookstores in San Francisco, Berkeley and Santa Cruz. What a treat! The garden section in the Berkeley bookstore was close to the size of my entire local Pleasantville bookstore. I had never seen such a wide variety of books about plants in one place. In Santa Cruz, I was surprised to find an extensive collection of books about growing marijuana, all in glass cases under lock and key.
The one thing that I did not find in any of these bookstores was a book on growing vegetables with kids. Even in Berkeley, California which is the country’s epicenter for freshly grown school food and school gardens, did not have one book on how to grow food with kids.
I’ve searched endlessly on Amazon, which is not nearly as fun as a real bookstore. I prefer to hold a book in my hand than peer at it through a screen. I found a few children’s garden books from the UK, where garden “allotments” are part of the culture.
While there are a small handful of children’s books about gardening, which are colorful and fun, there are no guides to help parents just starting out who want to feed their family better with freshly grown food.
I checked the parenting books. The picky eater aisle has plenty on purees and healthy organic baby food. The Sneaky Chef series still reigns in this category. I’m not a fan of sneaking black beans into brownies, I’d rather kids learn to love black beans on their own. When kids grow their food, picky eating behaviors vanish. Their relationship with nature and what’s on their plate is transformed. I’ve witnessed this for many years now. Which is why I’ve gotta write this book!
The cookbook section, always massive, had some healthy food books but I did not find any garden to table books. One of my all time favorites, Cynthia Lair’s Feeding the Whole Family, is still out enduring the test of time. Its my favorite gift for baby showers.
Every bookstore’s environmental section is filled with books by Bill McKibben, Al Gore, Colin Beavan and Derrick Jensen. But there are not books about how growing food with your family can help decrease carbon emissions.
Clearly it is time for me to be a pioneer and get this book written and into bookstores. Wish me luck!
What topics would you like to see in a veggie gardening guide for parents? Please post in the comment section!