Kitchener-Waterloo

Learning gardens at Kitchener Public Library to show kids where their snacks come from

Kitchener Public Library is installing a sensory herb garden and a rainbow garden in the courtyard of its main branch in downtown Kitchener. The hope is to increase "nutritional literacy" among patrons — and eventually use it for healthy snacks for summer camps and after school programs.
The seeds were started by kids in Kitchener Public Library's after school programs and will be planted in the Sheriff John Motz courtyard in the coming weeks. (Submitted by: Kitchener Public Library)

Kitchener Public Library is installing a sensory herb garden and a rainbow garden in the courtyard of its main branch in downtown Kitchener, with the hope of increasing "nutritional literacy" among patrons, and harvest it for healthy snacks for summer camps and after school programs.

"We see kids come into the library after school and they don't leave until we close at night. They haven't eaten a thing," said library CEO Mary Chevreau.

"And so we know there is not only a need to introduce food into their lives, and healthy food into their lives but also this idea of showing a child where a tomato comes from or where herbs come from."

The rainbow garden and sensory garden will take the place of decorative boxwood and grasses currently in the flower beds at KPL's main branch courtyard. (Submitted by: Kitchener Public Library)

Tabouleh — even pizza — gardens

The learning gardens will replace decorative plants and grasses in the Sheriff John Motz courtyard. 

The sensory garden will be full of herbs, said Lindsay Skeen, manager of children and teen services.

"Things that we can rub and smell and taste and have a sensory experience with," she said.

The rainbow garden will be home to colourful vegetables: peppers, tomatoes, chard and lettuce.

Seeds were started in the spring by kids in the library's after school programs and will be planted in the coming weeks.

The garden was paid for by community donations. Chevreau said she hopes to continue to grow the garden, and themed beds in the years to come. 

"We can see a tabouleh garden — anything that goes into a tabouley salad — or we can see a pizza garden where we have tomatoes and we have basil and items that go into those kinds of foods," she said. "And then, to bring it back to food prep, be able to teach kids how to be able to make those healthy snacks."

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