NPR logo

Garden Gives City Kids A Taste For Veggies

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Garden Gives City Kids A Taste For Veggies


Garden Gives City Kids A Taste For Veggies

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

City kids. Ha, I was one myself. Now, city kids learn a lot of valuable tools for survival, like how to ride subways, push the buttons on elevators. But a lot of city kids think green is just the color of a streetlight. Not Annie and Veda, though, two five-year-old girls living in Washington, D.C. who now know that fresh vegetables just don't come from the market - or for that matter overpriced farmer's markets.

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, whose name might be familiar to you from the production credits of our show on NPR. Rhoda Trooboff is an avid gardener and former teacher.

Thanks for being with us.

Ms. RHODA TROOBOFF (Gardener): Thank you for having us.

SIMON: So, like, what do you got here?

Ms. TROOBOFF: Well, come on in. Passing the blackberries on your right and coming through our Gerber daisy gateway. Behind are raspberries with buds on them. Broccoli - we have our first bit of broccoli. Want to taste it?

SIMON: Good. How is it, Annie?

ANNIE: Good.

Ms. TROOBOFF: These are Brussels sprouts. And we've had this garden since the mid to late 1970s. And we started gardening here because our kids thought vegetables and food came from stores. And 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 it and then the pleasure of enjoying the results of your work is intensified, because you know you did it yourself.

SIMON: So Annie, I've been told that you guys are the most accomplished weeders.

ANNIE: Yeah.

SIMON: Okay. Good.

Ms. TROOBOFF: Where do we put the weeds after we pull them out? Do you remember?

ANNIE: Compost.

Ms. TROOBOFF: Scott, can you...

SIMON: Yeah. Ay Carumba. Okay. Can Annie and Veda give me some tips, because they know how it's done, right? Ladies, give me some advice. What do I do here?

VEDA: You dig up the weed and put it somewhere else.

SIMON: Okay. Ow.

(Soundbite of pounding)

Ms. TROOBOFF: Good. Good. Good.

SIMON: Okay. Ready?

Ms. TROOBOFF: Now, lift.

SIMON: Oh, careful. Stand back, Annie. There.

Ms. TROOBOFF: That's perfect.

SIMON: Okay. Thank you.

Ms. TROOBOFF: And then you can just tromp it down.

SIMON: Tromp it down?


SIMON: All right. Tromp is a...

Ms. TROOBOFF: Not on the plant.

SIMON: Sorry.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: I just thought it was a little (unintelligible)...

Ms. TROOBOFF: Okay, dig this one up.

SIMON: All right. Like this?

VEDA: Rhoda, there's another squash weed.

Ms. TROOBOFF: Oh, there's another one. Veda, you've got another one right there. Yep. Yep.

SIMON: So, Annie, is gardening fun?


SIMON: So does stuff taste better when you grow it yourself, Veda?

VEDA: Yes.

SIMON: So what's your favorite thing to grow?

ANNIE: Squash.

SIMON: Squash? Really? Veda, do you like...

VEDA: Onions.

SIMON: Onions. Onions are really neat looking, aren't they?

VEDA: Mm-hmm.

SIMON: Yeah, they're neat. Do you like eating them too?

VEDA: Yeah.

SIMON: Oh, wait. Let me take off my glasses. Those are onions, aren't they, girls?

Ms. TROOBOFF: Try one.

SIMON: Just eat it like that? Okay.


SIMON: Mmm. It's an onion. You're right. It's a spring onion.

Ms. TROOBOFF: Sweet and delicious.

SIMON: Yeah. Mmm.

Ms. TROOBOFF: Ready to harvest some lettuce? Okay. Want to do it leaf by leaf or do you want to do a whole head?

VEDA: Leaf by leaf.

Ms. TROOBOFF: Okay. Let me get you a basket.

SIMON: You're a teacher?


SIMON: Retired teacher, I guess, now, right?

Ms. TROOBOFF: Yes. Yes.

SIMON: You haven't retired at all, have you?

Ms. TROOBOFF: No. No, not at all. And, in fact, this book, "We Grew It, Let's Eat It," is the result of a winter dream. What do gardeners dream about? They dream about spring planting in the wintertime. And I was dreaming about gardening with children again. My kids are grown. And I thought: Who do I know who has children about the age of my girls when they first started gardening here? And I think city kids find a special opportunity for learning when they get outside and work the land.

SIMON: What would you - what do you really wish that you would grown in the garden?

ANNIE: Ice cream plants.

(Soundbite of laughter)

(Soundbite of ice cream truck)

SIMON: And as if on cue, the sounds of birds chirping and cars snorting was joined by the chimes of an ice cream truck, which must've been just a block away, as two city kids - Annie and Veda - swung on a piece of wood hanging from a big mulberry tree at the Friendship Community Gardens in D.C.

The book is "We Grew It, Let's Eat It" by Annie and Veda, as told to their mother, NPR producer Justine Kenin. The photographs are by Becky Lettenberger. The book was set in Rhoda Trooboff'S garden. And to see pictures of the girls at work, come to our website,

Copyright © 2010 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.