IT’S A BEAUTIFUL STORY of how the act of growing replaced a mistrust of the world with a desire to share the joy of growing.
I recently had the pleasure of connecting with Leila Mireskandari, an educator who is on a mission to fostering the habit of gardening in younger generations.
Leila, who talks about growing up in an environment of war in Iran, says that she lost the ability to see good in the world around her. She had moved to Toronto, Canada, and was focused on her own life and her job as a software developer. Her focus was inwards.
She explains that while she was on maternity leave, she spent a lot of time watching online videos. One of those videos inspired her to redirect that inward focus. Leila was moved to see the world in a different light after seeing a simple video about growing potatoes. The video wasn’t just about potatoes, though—it had powerful symbolism.
In the video, a newspaper with bad news on the front cover was placed on the ground, covered with potatoes and then straw. The bad news was used to grow potatoes. This simple act of growing moved Leila. Having seen this permaculture video, she started to seek out information on permaculture. “There was no way I could say no to my passion,” she says.
While she did return to her programming work for a while, Leila eventually left her programming job to found Urban Guilds Permaculture.
With her life now refocused on growing, and with a young child, Leila became aware that growing was not part of her daughter’s education. “Why is my daughter not being taught to grow food?” she asked. And so began Leila’s journey into inspiring kids to garden and to grow food. And with that, Leila founded Kids Growing City.
Hear Leila’s inspiring story below.