Just yesterday three of the neigbourhood children (boy:7, boy:6, girl:5) happened to see me digging in my veggie patch. The little girl has been picking peas in my garden all summer after I showed her how to open the pods easily.
They were very exited to see all the brown (Russet-Burbank) and red-skinned potatoes as they were unearthed.
There were inevitably damaged spuds. These I gave to them for helping me to sort them into 5 gallon pails. They left with about 20 lbs each; double-bagged, barely able to carry them. They ran home to show their mothers their treasure.
Today the little girl came 'round to say they ate them that same night and could she help to dig up the next row and get some more!
It's too bad their own parents don't grow a small veggie patch, if for no other reason than to give their children this positive experience.
I remember helping my father in the garden when I was about 6-7 yrs old. It was the only thing I ever remember doing with my father. That experience has stuck with me all these years (I'm now 63 yrs old).
Hopefully I'm giving these children something that'll stay with them for years to come, so that they could possibly be the next generation of gardeners, as the skills seem to have been largely lost in the last couple of generations.
I would call on all retirees to try this with your own grandchildren and the neigbourhood children. It's amazing to see their faces when they begin this experience.