Growing for Good

Kid Zone Child Care Center teaches young children about gardening and community.
Young gardeners display the fruits of their hard work.

Children are no strangers to dirt, and the arrival of summer means little ones and their parents have the opportunity to dig deep at Kid Zone in St. Louis Park. For the fourth year, the child care center is at work on an organic garden, and the children are actively involved throughout the process.

The planning begins in the winter months. Seeds are started indoors, later to be planted in the garden when the weather warms up. “We grow whatever we can get our hands on,” community garden co-coordinator Kathy Rappos says. “And we use it too.”

Some of the produce is used for educational purposes or meals at Kid Zone, and some is also donated to the St. Louis Park Emergency Program (STEP) food shelf; co-coordinator Leon Lonstein estimates the donation amounts to approximately a quarter of the crop.

The Kid Zone garden is maintained by staff and children throughout the week, and parents help out during “worker bee sessions” several times a month. Everyone is involved in the planting, weeding, harvesting and donating.

“We really want to teach [the children] about their community,” Rappos says, “and that everyone should be able to have quality food, and how to give to those who need it.”

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Kid Zone Child Care Center, 3700 Alabama Ave. S.; 952.929.7636; kidzonechildcarecenter.com