The challenges facing teachers were the same reasons I didn’t garden with my kids in our apartment - I didn't know what to grow, how to grow it, have time, space, sunlight, good weather, and lifting those giant bags of soil! The more people I asked, the clearer it became that lot's of us are facing these same challenges.
I was born & raised in New York City, and the word “garden” was rarely used in our Bronx apartment. It also didn’t come up while I was working full time as a corporate lawyer and raising my 3 little kids in Manhattan. When I quit my corporate job to work on environmental conservation, my plan was to save the planet with the strength of my pen and paper, not my gardening skills. Had someone told me back then that I would end up inventing a kid-friendly planter and gardening kit that families and teachers love, I would have laughed them right out of my office. Girl was I in for a surprise.
During my quest to save the planet, I worked with scientists, regulators, lobbyists, community organizers and all kinds of people. Of all the experts, one group's enthusiasm stood out more than everyone else - teachers! Teachers would burst out about how much their kids LOVE to work with plants and study nature. The ways teachers got their students gardening was fun, inclusive, engaging & educational. They were committed to raising the next generation of environmental stewards and innovators.
But at the end of every story, the teachers expressed how hard it was to collect all the materials themselves, and how challenging it is to fit into their full schedules and full classrooms. The sentence “If only it were easier, we would do it even more!" HAUNTED me. It was the same way I felt about planting with my kids in our apartment. We have an army of teachers and parents ready, willing & able to prepare our kids for the environmental challenges that we KNOW they will face. How is no one out there making it easier for them? How can I make it easier for them?
So this city kid volunteered to garden with my kids’ classes and taught myself how to grow things (in that order). I used all kinds of planters and soil and seeds. I started 3D printing planters that fit better into the kids hands, were less messy and allowed kids to check out the roots. I started making my own soil mixes so that kids could touch the soil without being exposed to poisonous fertilizers, pesticides and manures. After two years, dozens of planter designs, hundreds of batches of soil, and planting all kinds of seeds in all kinds of conditions, the EverySeason Garden and EverySeason Potting Soil were born.
Each EverySeason Garden Kit aspires to turn studying nature from a project into an activity that is as easy to do year round as coloring with crayons or building with blocks. It's my dream that all kids will get to grow up growing things, so that they can spend their time caring for the planet instead of having to save it.