Children love permission to get dirty. Gardening provides ample happily-sanctioned opportunities to do just that. In our cleanliness obsessed, germ-phobic world, the chance for kids to play in the dirt are far too few and far between. If it were up to us, every kid would be outside growing their own food daily. In school, after school and all year round!

Did you know that children raised on farms have a much lower rate of food allergies as compared to non-farm raised children? And there’s more… there’s actually beneficial bacteria in the soil that causes the brain to improve cognitive function, release seratonin and fight diseases such as cancer. There are scientific studies showing that playing in the dirt makes us  happier, healthier and smarter!

IMG_2427Up to now we’ve featured  our “in-school program” with the awesome Farmer-in-the-School, Stephanie. Now we’ll also document our “out-of-school program”,  the five year old Truro Children’s Community Garden, located behind the Truro Public Library.  This is a collaboration between Sustainable CAPE, the Truro Recreation Program, and the Truro Public Library. Sustainable CAPE provides the garden expertise and documentation, Truro Rec provides the kids, and the library provides the incredible Children’s Librarian Maggie as well as the  land. It’s a great example of a very supportive non-profit collaboration!

We began at the school garden, learning about and creating healthy soil, and we need to do the same with the three raised beds at the Children’s Garden. Drake, our Children’s Community Garden Farmer, explained to the kids: “The soil has been sleeping all winter and is hungry.”

So we fed the garden. Tapping a local excavation and landscape contractor, we had two yards of compost donated and delivered.  Thank you to GFM Enterprises for contributing to the garden’s (and children’s) growth! The kids guessed what the dark coffee colored substance was made of (composted leaves) and learned that this is a favorite food for worms.  The nascent gardeners were excited: “Worms are THE BEST ingredient for the soil!”

Then the work of prepping the beds for a season of growing began!


  • Compost (Check local nurseries and landscapers to see if you can receive a discount or donation)
  • Shovels (shorter size works best for younger children)
  • Small garden forks
  • Garden rakes


  • Organize a system for scooping dirt and delivering to the beds. We formed a line and followed a path in one direction that looped back to the compost pile, so the kids wouldn’t bump into each other.
  • After small piles of compost cover the beds, rake the compost into the top layer of soil. Children shared large rakes and smaller forks, in some cases taking turns with both. Include close adult supervision!


Both shoveling and raking are body building activities.

IMG_2416A very, very special thanks to Greg & Jennifer Morris and GFM Enterprises for donating compost to the Truro Community Children’s Garden!

This post reflects the partnership and creative collaboration between Sustainable CAPEThe Motor StoryTruro Recreation and the Truro Public Library.