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Calendar >  Farmer Jones And The Veggie Critters

Farmer Jones And The Veggie Critters

By   /  June 15, 2018  /  3 Comments


Pat Murphy

Pat Murphy — Vista, CA…Thanks to great weather the June “Kids in the Garden” class attracted a whopping 18 children, 2 infants, and 11 adults. Quite an appropriate turn out for what the Amazon’s Alexa I have at home had told me was, “Global Reddit Meetup Day”. Of course this was just a class and not an actual community meetup. However, the kids were coming from all over North County. One Dad, Timothy, had even brought his two daughters all the way from Rancho Bernardo to make Veggie Critters.

Helping Farmer Jones on this sunny morning was Michelle Petitte who is the Volunteer coordinator for the Alta Vista Botanical Gardens (AVBG). Petitte told me that she is newly retired from Woodland Park Elementary where she was the Assistant Principal. She said, “This is a nice way to give back”. Obviously, she likes working with kids and she likes horticulture.

Photos by Pat Murphy

As soon as the kids were all signed in, Farmer Jones warmed up the session by having everyone sing the well-known “B-I-N-G-O” song. The kids were sitting along the low stone wall of the Lowes Patio that overlooks the Edible Garden that is surrounded by a host of community sponsored scarecrows. The sign-in table and the Lowes patio were shaded by a gigantic California Pepper tree. A dozen feet away, under a similarly large California tree was another table. This table was loaded with fruit and raw vegetables.

Farmer Jones addressed her young audience and told them about the vitamins the fruits and vegetables provided to our bodies. The kids seemed to already know that Vitamin C was for healthy gums and tissue. Vitamin A, they learned, would give you strong bones. The colors of the edibles were also discussed before Farmer Jones gave the kids instructions on the topic of the day, “Veggie Critters”. Farmer Jones told her wide eyed students that the key to making a Veggie Critter was “Creativity”. “I believe in Creativity” she affirmed. Some safety instructions were given over the knives to be used and it was made clear that only the adults would cut anything that needed to be cut. Then the kids were sent down to the table laden with fruits and veggies.

Soon the critters were appearing on all sides of the table. Excited youngsters carried their creations to Farmer Jones for suggestions and/or approval. 6 year old Sophia Nunez brought a beautiful 2 piece butterfly for inspection. On a large green Kale leaf were “caterpillar eggs” made from grapes and next to the leaf was the butterfly made from an apple two slices of orange and more grapes. Karsen Sandifer built a sea urchin using a carrot and toothpicks. Jenny, wearing a pink shirt that featured a large butterfly, came up to the table buzzing with her “Apple Bee”. Some of the critters were monsters and mean looking while others were definitely cute. The imaginations were unleashed and creativity was everywhere.

Pre-registration with Farmer Jones is required for the Kids in the Garden classes so Farmer Jones will have materials for all the kids that show up. Contact farmerjonesavbg@gmail.com or call (760) 822-6824.

Your registration for the Kids in the Garden classes includes your visit to the Children’s Garden where the Ricardo Breceda sculpture of a “Serpent,” the new Children’s Discovery Trail, the Enchanted Garden Tube Tunnels, the fantastic Fall Fun Festival scarecrows, the interactive Children’s Music Garden, the Turtle & Dino Dig, and the Incredible Edibles Garden. It also includes your self-guided tour of the 14-acre Gardens.

When you join and buy a family membership in Alta Vista Botanical Gardens, the monthly Kids in the Garden class and entry to the Gardens are FREE for a year. Membership forms are available on the website. Donations and sponsorships are gratefully accepted.

School field trips, Scout badge sessions, and club tours are available for a reasonable fee. Farmer Jones is a retired elementary teacher with 28 years’ experience in the classroom. She is a Master Composter who has been working in school gardens and children’s gardens for 44 years.

Alta Vista Botanical Gardens is located at 1270 Vale Terrace Drive in Vista, at the top of the hill inside Brengle Terrace Park. Visit their new website at;




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  • Published: 6 years ago on June 15, 2018
  • By:
  • Last Modified: June 15, 2018 @ 12:13 am
  • Filed Under: Local


  1. Winifred Meiser says:

    What a great gift to the children of Vista and throughout North County to have Nancy (Farmer) Jones share her knowledge of nutrition and healthy eating in so many fun activities such as making “Veggie Critters”.

    My thanks to her; to Pat Murphy’s reporting and photos; to all the volunteers who assisted; to the folks who make the Alta Vista Garden the perfect place for this kind of activity, and to TheVistaPress which makes it possible to share this activity information with others – creating a “ripple effect” of positivity.
    Who knows – it could reach from sea to shining sea!

  2. Thanks so much Pat Murphy!
    We’re having fun, creating, and learning too!
    We’re always glad to see you and share your Vista Press articles!

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