How Community Gardens Benefit Kids in Single Parent Households
Around 17% of children in Canada belong to lone-parent families. The proportion tends to grow with lower income households and those challenged by systemic discrimination. For instance, more than one-third of Indigenous children in Canada live in a single-parent home. While children raised by a single parent can shine just as brightly as any, there are certain things that they may miss out on when compared to those who grow up in two-parent families (all else equal). A variety of programs exist to help fill the void, with one of them being involvement in community and/or school gardening projects. Should you, as a single parent seek out (or help initiate) a community/school gardening program near you? Absolutely! Below is a breakdown of the benefits and advantages to be enjoyed by your child/children.
Why Single Parents Should Consider Getting Their Kids Involved in Community and School Gardens
Provides Kids with Access to Nutritious Food
Recent data shows that single-parent households represent over 17 percent of food bank users in Canada in 2023. By getting involved in a school or community garden, participating children may gain access to nutritious fruits and vegetables that they may not otherwise have access to. That in itself makes involvement well worth the effort.
Access to Nutrition That Builds Self-Esteem
Anyone who has ever had to get goods from food banks in their childhood knows what it feels like to depend upon charity for the basic necessities. It can have a very detrimental impact on a self-esteem, especially when surrounded by classmates and peers who don’t experience the same struggles. Childhood food insecurity can manifest as mental and behavioral health insecurities later in life. But by gaining access to nutritious food that they themselves have helped grow, they develop pride and self-esteem. In fact, they may even boast about it to their classmates!
Exposure to Positive Role Models
One thing that children from single parent households often miss out on in their life, is exposure to a positive role model that could have otherwise been present with the father or mother (as applicable). Male role models in particular are absent in a lone-parent household, as most lone-parent homes are headed by women (15%) compared to men (2%). By getting involved in a community garden, your kid/s will work alongside both nurturing mother and father-figures that will set a conscious and subconscious example of what they can admire and aspire to become.
The Plant a Seed & See What Grows Foundation works tirelessly to provide food security and valuable outdoor learning experiences to children across Canada, those who come from single family homes included. We encourage you to learn more about our funded gardening programs near you. What if there are no community or school gardens in your area for your child can benefit from? If this is the case, please reference our guide for how to start one together with your child/children.