by Deb Bentzel, The Food Trust
Cheryl Moss will explain to you that she was not always such a proficient gardener. You wouldn’t know that though, given the multiple raised beds, fruit trees, grape vines and potted plants that stretch across the outdoor space at A Mother’s Touch Child Development Center in Sharon, PA. Tomatoes, kale, spinach, beans, squashes, mustard greens and a wide variety of herbs are in various stages of growth, all tended to children ages 1 and up at this family group childcare development center. Sharon, PA is located about 75 miles Northwest of Pittsburgh and is adjacent to Youngstown, Ohio. Young working families take advantage of A Mother’s Touch because Cheryl and her staff provide an experience to young children in which learning about food production and the science, math and art behind it encourages young minds to expand and palates to develop. Cheryl and her team are committed to offering nutritious, whole foods to children whenever possible.
Roasted broccoli is a favorite among these young eaters! As one parent described, “Because of Cheryl, I now make this at home. And when I do, I need to eat mine up before she (her daughter) can take it off my plate!” A Mother’s Touch believes that gardening with young children encourages children to try new foods, supports social-emotional development, gives them confidence and provides a wealth of teachable moments unique to children getting their hands dirty and nurturing plants from seed to harvest. As Cheryl noted, “you never know who the next horticulturalist will be — this gives them all a chance to find out.”