I was so pleased to read the recent article about garden clubs for kids (“Meet Stephanie O’Neil, founder of garden clubs for children”, Aug. 3), because I know first-hand how important that type of exposure is long-term.

When I was growing up, my mom kept a good-sized garden, and she enlisted my brother and me to help as part of our chores. I didn’t like all of it (mulching was never a favorite activity), but I didn’t mind harvesting or assisting with things like snapping beans and shelling peas.

I also developed a taste for many of the vegetables – sugar snap peas, green beans and corn were particular favorites. Admittedly, I also liked sweet things and some junk food, which contributed to me gaining weight.

But when I started losing weight as a young adult, my earlier experience with the garden helped considerably. I didn’t have to be convinced that I might like fruits and vegetables. I only had to be reminded how much I already enjoyed them.

That made it relatively easy for me to switch from chips to carrots and cucumbers, from cookies and candy to cherry tomatoes, blueberries and apples. I rediscovered the natural sweetness in those foods and found that the sugary snacks I once craved became less appealing.

I still enjoy sweeter desserts, but the balance for me these days is much more on the whole, natural foods I can find at farmers markets and in the produce aisle. I hope that the kids working in these gardens have the same experience.

Erica L. Bartlett


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.