Think back to your childhood. Did your family have a garden? Did you help your parents or grandparents prepare meals? Did you learn how to preserve the bounty of ripe fruits and vegetables? If so, it is very likely those skills that you honed as a child are ever-present in your day-to-day life. Being connected to where your food comes from is at the foundation of making lifelong healthy eating choices. Learning those skills helps to stretch budgets and ensure access to an abundance of fresh, nutrient rich foods; important ingredients for the healthy development of young bodies and minds.

But what happens when you don’t have those experiences as a child; when you don’t have those skills to pass along to your own children? Some will say that our world is a much different place; gardens are being replaced with processed foods; time-deprived families struggle to make ends meet and putting food on the table is a daily concern.

Enter ‘Growing Gardening Families’, a young mother education program focused on enabling parents to provide wholesome, nutritious meals for their children. The Kamloops based, Growing Gardening Families program is a component of ‘First Steps’, and is aimed at young mothers between the ages of 15 and 24 who are parenting or pregnant and who have not graduated high school. The program provides families with the skills and knowledge to not only grow their food but to cook and use preservation methods allowing them to put healthy food on the table while also stretching household budgets.

“The goal of the project” says Program Coordinator Maureen Hegadoren, “is that when students leave here they know how to feed their families and they have [acquired] skills that are sometimes forgotten.”

Project participant Rayanna Henry credits the program with teaching her not only the basics around healthy eating but for encouraging what she hopes to be lasting eating habits for herself and her children. “I hope that my kids will learn how to take care of themselves and really make sure their body is full of the nutrients they need”.

With contribution from Interior Savings, First Steps was able to purchase the essential tools, supplies and appliances to facilitate this program and give participants a hands-on experience to help instill these lessons. Canning supplies were purchased so that the fruits and vegetables could be made into preserves to be used throughout the year. Programming was extended so that families will have access to the garden year round.

Interior Savings is proud to support initiatives such as Growing Gardening Families that empower parents, helping them take steps to not only reach their own goals but to help set the foundation for their children to have every opportunity to do the same.

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