Growing food and family ties

Alison Springate Guelph Smart City Office • 20 October 2020

Cascardi-Stocco family uses Kids Get Growing gardening kit to plant home garden

This spring before the schools shut down, Mark Cascardi and Elena Stocco’s nine-year-old son, Ramone, brought home some seedlings as part of a school project and was keenly interested in how they were growing. His 11-year-old sister, Sofia, had also expressed an interest in growing vegetables, so when their mom Elena saw the notice about the Our Food Future Kids Get Growing gardening kit, she signed up right away. It was a welcome new activity while staying at home.

Elena had grown up with vegetable gardens but had never started one herself until the kit arrived. The whole family jumped in and everyone was involved in planning out the garden. Even Sofia and Ramone’s Nonno got involved and was a great source of information as well as an extra pair of hands when needed.

Their garden, including seedlings and seeds from the kit – along with some extra seedlings from Nonno -- will produce tomatoes, cabbages, beans, herbs, peppers, zucchini, lettuce and carrots.

Sofia has been watching intently and says there have definitely been learning opportunities. “I was surprised by how quickly they started growing out of the ground. And one day I was checking the cabbages and noticed there were little worms all over them. I picked off a whole bunch of them.” Their Nonno taught them to spray the cabbages with soap and water to get rid of the worms, which helped a great deal, says Sofia.

Ramone is very excited to try out the harvest and is already planning the menu. “We are going to make tomato soup and pasta with red sauce!” he exclaimed excitedly. They also plan to try drying the herbs so they can use them through the fall and winter.

All in all, the kit has been a huge hit in the Cascardi-Stocco household as they patiently await their harvest this fall.

Stocco Family

In total, 700 children and youth in Guelph-Wellington signed up for the Kids Get Gardening free at-home gardening kit as part of Grow Back Better: Our Food Future’s new 10-point recovery plan to respond to COVID-19. The Kids Get Growing gardening kits is one of the first initiatives to launch as part of Grow Back Better and is being offered in partnership with the YMCA-YWCA of Guelph.