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Wilton's Young Farmers Learn and Grow at Library

WILTON, Conn. – Lia Gordon grabs a small cultivator, leans over a raised garden bed and tears into the dirt, churning up tiny rocks, wood chips and even a plump worm.

"You can see all this stuff," she said Monday. "You're getting the dirt so the plants have good soil. I really feel like I accomplished something."

During the last six weeks, Lia, 7, and members of Wilton Library's first Children's Garden Club accomplished plenty as some of the seeds they planted have grown into beets, string beans and lettuce that are ready for harvesting.

For Aidan Jasinski, 8, watching the wooden boxes transform from dirt-filled squares into five small gardens overflowing with greens has proven to be one of the summer's bright spots.

"Every day they look a bit different," said Aidan. "I like helping to grow them."

Development of a green thumb has spilled over to his sister, Isabella, 6, who spends a lot of her time at the children's garden getting her hands dirty pulling weeds. She even helps out with the weeding at home, she said.

Whether the kids are grasping the concept that food doesn't come from the supermarket, learning the proper way to use a rake or simply digging into the dirt to pop out beets and carrots, Millstone Farm's Annie Farrell is happy to see a new generation understand the importance of home farming. Millstone Farm's Betsy and Jesse Fink sponsor the library's children's garden and Farrell drops by weekly to teach a lesson or just lend a hand.

"It's about encouraging people to grow their own food for food security," said Farrell. "But it's also getting kids psyched about their own garden. I give everybody a little bit of guidance but it is their project."

It's a project with roots from this past winter. As she bundled up against the frigid weather, Children's Library head Andrea Falkner said she would dream of warmer days and being outside in the garden. That idea grew into the Children's Garden Club and the five wooden boxes--donated by Hatch & Bailey Lumberyards and Ring's End Lumber and constructed by Young's Nursery --that sit outside the building alongside Old Ridgefield Road in Wilton Center.

In mid-June the group planted beets, carrots, lettuce, leeks, onions, corn, gourds, eggplant and tomatoes. Each week as they weed and water the crops the young gardeners receive a lesson about the different plants and the work that goes into bringing each from seed to harvest, said Falkner.

But it's not just the kids who benefit.

"There's something about working in a garden that gets you excited," said Farrell. "This is fun."

Do you have a vegetable garden at home? What do you grow? Leave a comment below. Find on Facebook and like us.

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