Garden Gives City Kids A Taste For Veggies

  • Veda and Annie, twin daughters of NPR producer Justine Kenin, survey their work at the entrance of the Friendship Community Garden, in Washington, D.C. After learning about the White House vegetable garden, the girls wanted a garden of their own, even though they live in a city apartment.
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    Veda and Annie, twin daughters of NPR producer Justine Kenin, survey their work at the entrance of the Friendship Community Garden, in Washington, D.C. After learning about the White House vegetable garden, the girls wanted a garden of their own, even though they live in a city apartment.
    Photos by Becky Lettenberger/Becky Lettenberger
  • In the children's book We Grew It, Let's Eat It, as told by the twins to Kenin, the girls learn about urban gardening.
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    In the children's book We Grew It, Let's Eat It, as told by the twins to Kenin, the girls learn about urban gardening.
    Becky Lettenberger
  • In addition to gardening, they learn how to cook with the harvested food. A freshly pulled piece of lettuce gets a rinse before the girls eat it.
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    In addition to gardening, they learn how to cook with the harvested food. A freshly pulled piece of lettuce gets a rinse before the girls eat it.
    Becky Lettenberger
  • Veda helps "cage" tomatoes. We Grew It, Let's Eat It also contains recipes.
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    Veda helps "cage" tomatoes. We Grew It, Let's Eat It also contains recipes.
    Becky Lettenberger
  • Ripe raspberries wait to be picked.
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    Ripe raspberries wait to be picked.
    Becky Lettenberger
  • Annie shows off her harvest. While tomatoes failed, both raspberries and blackberries were plentiful.
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    Annie shows off her harvest. While tomatoes failed, both raspberries and blackberries were plentiful.
    Becky Lettenberger
  • Black raspberries are almost ripe enough to eat. In the book, they are later used to make a cake.
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    Black raspberries are almost ripe enough to eat. In the book, they are later used to make a cake.
    Becky Lettenberger
  • Annie examines one of the first green peppers of the season.
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    Annie examines one of the first green peppers of the season.
    Becky Lettenberger
  • The twins water garden plants.
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    The twins water garden plants.
    Becky Lettenberger
  • Veda heads out of the Friendship Community Garden after an afternoon of work.
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    Veda heads out of the Friendship Community Garden after an afternoon of work.
    Becky Lettenberger
  • The girls grease a Bundt pan, which they will use to bake a cake with their own neighborhood ingredients.
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    The girls grease a Bundt pan, which they will use to bake a cake with their own neighborhood ingredients.
    Becky Lettenberger
  • They give the blackberry cake, fresh out of the oven, a good sniff.
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    They give the blackberry cake, fresh out of the oven, a good sniff.
    Becky Lettenberger

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"We Grew It -- Let's Eat It"
We Grew It, Let's Eat It!
By Annie and Veda, as told to Justine Kenin,
Paperback, 50 pages
Tenley Circle Press: $15

City kids learn a lot of valuable tools for survival, like how to ride subways and push the buttons on elevators. But a lot of city kids think that green is just the color of a streetlight. Not Annie and Veda, two 5-year-old girls living in Washington, D.C., who now know that fresh vegetables don't just come from the market.

They've written a book called We Grew It, Let's Eat It by Annie and Veda as told to their mother, who happens to be Justine Kenin. Her name might be familiar to you from the production credits of our show.

Annie and Veda's garden welcomes visitors with a Gerber daisy gateway. Buds dot the raspberry bushes, and the broccoli is just coming into season. Annie bites into a freshly plucked stalk. "It's good," she confirms.

Their garden belongs to Rhoda Trooboff, an avid gardener and former teacher who's been growing veggies on this patch of land since the '70s.

"We started gardening here because our kids thought vegetables and food came from stores," Trooboff says. "We wanted to teach them, my husband and I, that it comes from the land, comes from the ground, and it takes work, and it takes patience, and then the pleasure of enjoying the results of your work is intensified, because you know you did it yourself."

She says Annie and Veda are accomplished weeders. She calls out to them, "Where do we put the weeds after we pull them out?"

"Compost!" they chime. If you're looking for advice on weeding, they've got it. "You dig up the weed, and put it somewhere else." Enough said.

Annie's favorite thing to grow is squash. Veda prefers onions. What do they really wish they could grow in the garden? "Ice cream plants!"

Books Featured In This Story

We Grew It, Let's Eat It!
We Grew It, Let's Eat It!

by Justine Kenin and Becky Lettenberger

Paperback, 49 pages | purchase

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Purchase Featured Books

  • We Grew It, Let's Eat It!
  • Justine Kenin and Becky Lettenberger

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