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Sprout Kits Seek to Teach Children Where Their Food Comes From
Tuesday, February 16, 2021


They will learn about the anatomy of a squash as they take part in a sprout-and-grow exercise. They’ll be challenged to go outside and look at the constellations and find a bird in their backyard as part of a Bingo game.

And they and their parents will bake bread using stone-milled family-grown grain from Hillside Grain in Bellevue.

They are the 300 youngsters who have been given bilingual Seasonal Sprout Kits.

The kits are offered by the5B Resilience Gardens initiative to familiarize youngsters with the food they eat and the environment in which food is grown.

“Last summer we asked: How can we help kids and their families learn to cook from scratch, grow their own food, think about seasonality of food and learn about local efforts to grow food?” said Amy Matthias, who facilitates the effort on behalf of the Sun Valley Institute for Resilience. “We tried a hundred kits last fall in a pilot program and a number of donors made it possible for us to offer 300 this time around.”

Last week representatives of several organizations, including I Have a Dream Foundation, Local Food Alliance, Wood River Community YMCA, Ketchum Recreation Department and the University of Idaho Extension and 4H, gathered at the Community Campus. They formed an assembly line as they put the kits together.

Webb Nursery donated dirt and pots in which the kids will grow radishes and arugula on their window sills.

Agrarian Harvest, Ernie’s Organics and King’s Crown Organic Farm donated onions, and Lakota and acorn squash with which the youngsters and their families will make squash soup.

The kids received dried beans that they can soak overnight and cook from scratch, seasoning them with the contents of an herb packet.

And Atkinsons’ Markets donated reusable grocery bags festooned with a bear playing chess with a fox to hold all the parts of the kits.

The bags destined for families with pre-K through 4th grade children were dropped off at a variety of venues, including Bellevue Elementary, Ketchum Parks Department and YMCA.

Mattias said she was delighted to triple the number of families reached with the second kit.

“Kids loved our last one because it was so experiential,” she said. “They watched a bean sprout and grow, and their parents enjoyed family-friendly recipes. They even made corn husk dolls, an old-fashioned activity that people don’t generally do anymore. We hope that the English-speaking children will learn some Spanish since the instructions are printed in both languages and vice versa.”

The 5B Resilience Gardens initiative seeks to broaden community access to local gardening resources, enhance the visibility of gardens throughout the community and cultivate a vibrant gardening community through resource sharing, collaborative events and education opportunities.

To learn more visit or email Amy Mattias at

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