Generation Connection - Teaching Garden
Started in 1985, this intergenerational gardening project is designed to connect adults and children through exploration of their mutual interest in life within a garden. Integrated in a community garden, the area offers a myriad of different plants and animals for the young children to discover. The volunteers find creative ways to share their love of gardening with children while learning to see the garden through the eyes of the children themselves. Although there are rules (walk on paths, stay with guide and ask before you pick or taste), the children are mesmerized by the incredible exploratory journey through the garden.
The purpose of this multi-sensory garden experience is to help children make the connection that food comes from the garden and to provide hands-on experience of the life cycles (plant, insect, soil) within it. Volunteers for this project come from the Master Gardeners and the community at large. Teachers sign up their first and second grade classes for garden field trips. Children can benefit by learning to make and enjoy healthier food choices. Adult chaperones are offered information to start a garden and to recognize the resources available to them through the Master Gardeners. As well, volunteers benefit from the opportunity to share something they love with the next generation.
Creating Silver Water in a Nasturtium leaf.
Finding worms in the Worm bin | Greenhouse at the community garden | Recently harvested garlic
During the garden tour, under teacher supervision, the children have the opportunity to plant seeds, pick and taste seasonal fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers, drink water out of a leaf, observe insects, hold worms, feed chickens and enjoy being out in nature. Over the course of the year 570 children and 120 adults visited the garden.
To get a plot at the community garden one needs to sign up for a gardening class through the Santa Clara Adult Education Program. This class is taught at the Adult Community Education Center, 1830 Benton Street, Santa Clara. The site has a 2-acre fenced plot and includes a small storage shed and compost bins.