Gardening with your little one doesn’t have to be an overwhelming endeavor in your own backyard. If you’ve been wanting to teach your kiddo about harvesting and the environment, you’ll want to check out SMARTS Farm in downtown San Diego. This amazing garden community will get your little green thumb excited to plant and may even help even the pickiest of eaters get excited about their food.

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What is SMARTS Farm?
This urban oasis is located at the corner of F and 15th Streets in the “Makers Quarter” of San Diego’s East Village. What was once a vacant lot is now an amazing garden space blooming with flowers, produce, and a space for learning. This outdoor oasis is the only community garden spot in the downtown San Diego area that is working toward helping kid develop respect for nature and the environment.

SMARTS Farm provides after-school programs for kiddos in the surrounding neighborhood, with an emphasis on sustainable gardening, healthy living, art and photography. The farm also leases garden plots and offers classes on gardening and cooking. It’s goal is to revitalize the community through gardening and agriculture.

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Gardening and Arts Program
SMARTS Farm offers kiddos the chance to dig in dirt and watch things grow. During the summer, the farm hosts classes where kids learn about planting seeds, soil, enjoying homegrown produce, creating art projects, and lots more. Here’s a look at some of the class themes:

  • Craft Day at the Farm: paint rocks, paint faces, and put seeds and plants in the rich soil of the SMARTS Farm garden plots
  • Bugs, Soil, and Seeds: gardeners learn about good and bad bugs, good and bad soil, planting from seeds and six-packs, and the importance of locally grown produce.
  • Delicious and Nutritious: local chefs use fresh produce to teach basic skills for preparing delicious dishes
  • Puppet Theater: kids will create their own puppets and later write and perform in puppet theatrical events in the SMARTS Farm puppet theater
  • Entrepreneurial Arts: local artisans help creative kiddos design and create works of art, then explore markets for selling their creation
  • Wreath Making: use succulents and evergreens to make beautiful holiday wreaths during winter solstice

Classes take place from 9 – 11:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays through July 17. Don’t worry if you miss the summer session! SMARTS Farm offers Gardening and Arts again in the fall as after-school classes.

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Ready to Plant?
SMARTS Farm offers a great way for your family to harvest their own crops if you don’t have the yard space. There are a limited number of easy-to-garden planter boxes available to lease to community residents. The planters are 2-feet deep and filled with rich soil. Families bring seeds and plants, and SMARTS Farm provides the water and storage for your tools. Kids will love harvesting their own squash, lettuce, tomatoes, pumpkins, and flowers.

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Midsummer Celebration
Be sure to check out SMARTS Farm’s Butterflies & Camels event on July 19 at 4:30 p.m. Kids will have the chance to interact with real camels and butterflies. There will also be greta food and drinks, a petting zoo, live music and a summer hayride. Kids can attend for free ($10/adult).

SMARTS Farm
F and 15th St.
Downtown San Diego, Ca
online: humanesmarts.org/farm

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Have you visited the SMARTS Farm? Tell us what you thought in the comments!

– Leah R. Singer

Photos courtesy of SMARTS Farm and Leah R. Singer