Lifestyle & Parenting

How To Cultivate A Love For Gardening With Little Ones

February 10, 2023

Carissa Kasper of Seed & Nourish helps people grow their own food in Vancouver and on the North Shore. We chatted with Carissa about how to cultivate a love for gardening with kids—and, if you would like to learn more about her approach to gardening, head to the Vancouver Sun Gardeners’ School stage at the upcoming BC Home + Garden Show happening March 16 to 19, 2023, at BC Stadium Place. Carissa will be presenting on Friday, March 17 at 4 p.m. and Saturday, March 18 at 2 p.m. Come say hello! —Vita Daily

Hi Carissa! Tell us a bit about yourself to start.

I am a writer, designer, gardener and the founder of Seed & Nourish. I help gardeners find their flow in the garden through design rooted in discovery, and coaching that builds capacity and connection. I cultivate community through collaboration—such as the chef and pollinator garden at the Fairmont Waterfront. The seed for this venture came while I was in a time of life that I now call a “composting period”—those times when we are hit by one challenge after another and can feel unable to pull ourselves out. I started a job working for a Cree community garden project and as I began to absorb myself in the physical transformation of the garden space, the heap I was in began to heat up, and I began to notice the rich soil I was made of. Things began to grow. I watched the community members around me access this same alchemy in the garden and began to understand the inner power we develop as we learn to feed ourselves.

At this year’s BC Home + Garden Show, you’ll be sharing your knowledge on the Vancouver Sun Gardeners’ School stage about designing a garden that feeds you inside and out as you grow creativity, capacity, connection and cucumbers. Can you tell us more about how a garden can feed you inside and out?

When I’m in the garden, I become absorbed: feeling the stretch down my back as I move soil, spotting the sight of an earthworm, hearing the wind in the leaves, tasting a ripe tomato pop in my mouth and smelling the mint crushed between my fingers. This moving meditation frees me. Solutions to problems that felt unsolvable, or ideas I didn’t know I needed arrive with ease. I recognize this state intimately as a writer. I’ve chased it. This is the state of flow. I realized that the places I most often gained access to flow—the shower, walking the dog, long drives and the place where I found it the most, in the garden – shared some crucial elements. I began to wonder – can you design for it? I believe that, yes, you can create rituals and elements that set the stage to bring forth this state. And I believe that the kitchen garden, specifically, holds a special key – it is fast moving, just out of your control and full of sensory experience. This builds a sense of mastery as you learn to let go into it. It is an act of co-creation that the gardener must choose to enter.

For the parents out there, what are some of the ways you can incorporate these practices with our children?

In the garden, children are our teachers. They have a way of seeing that allows them to spot the wonder in plain sight. We might try to chase this feeling by travelling to foreign countries or seeking novel experiences, but together, you can find this right in your backyard with your child. We can design garden spaces for play. Provide your child with a planter or garden bed of their own to create ownership. Choose plenty of crops and flowers with short days to maturity so things are ever evolving. Cultivate agency by letting them choose what to grow. Observe the magic that is contained within a seed. Let them feel their place in it – give them kids-sized tools without rules. Model by doing and let them come to you to ask. Foster that curiosity—break things down into small actions and let them do without correction. The garden is forgiving. This is a place to learn and grow.

What are some of the benefits you see in your work when kids get involved in the gardening process?

Let’s start with the most important: when I ask adult gardeners why they decided to plant their first seed, almost always they begin with a memory of a mother or grandfather or other beloved in the garden. Gardening with your children is a way of cultivating lineage. The soil absorbs big feelings. They can discover the joy of movement and mastery as their fine motor skills develop. Children foster a sense of curiosity as they taste new vegetables and learn how things grow. You would not believe how many times a parent has told me their children never liked a vegetable until they pulled it from the garden with their own hand. They build capacity as they learn their own power as a being connected to this earth.

In brief, what are your top three tips for getting kids involved in gardening this upcoming spring?

  1. Create space for play and purpose in the garden. Don’t introduce the garden as a chore.
  2. Let their curiosity guide you both. There are no rules, only discoveries.
  3. Let them learn the magic of the world through planting seeds that they chose.


  1. David Smith

    February 14th, 2023 at 10:04 pm

    Red is my favourite colour. @coach_Daves9

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