Organic Gardening Guide For Children

Local Author Kelly Johnson Puts The Fun In Family & School Gardening

Written by Trish MichaelsLeave a Comment

Wings Worms & wonder front cover

Neptune Beach author Kelly Johnson’s new book is loaded with fun exercises that awaken our passion for fresh food, nature and sustainable living.


“Wings, Worms & Wonders” is a masterful book that inspires children to fall in love with fresh food, organic gardening, nature and sustainable living.  These fun, easy lesson plans are ideal for schools, homeschoolers or families to enjoy with their children.  The book is loaded with colorful illustrations and hands-on lesson plans so easy and fun, your kids will never guess it’s all educational!


This brilliant book comes from Neptune Beach author, artist, gardener, musician, Montessori teacher and community activist Kelly Johnson.  Kelly shares child-tested techniques that help kids fall in love with love with healthy eating, organic gardening and green living.


“My passion is to awaken our sense of wonder for fresh, homegrown foods and the natural beauty in our backyards.  My mission is to inspire ecological literacy and environmental responsibility so we appreciate how our choices affect our world.  I want tomorrow’s children to enjoy the natural world as much as I do for their entire lives.  It starts with reconnecting children today.”


A Fun Curriculum For Teachers, Homeschoolers and Parents

Teacher Kelly Johnson in garden with students

Montessori teacher Kelly Johnson uses music, art, laughter and interactive play to get children excited about being in nature and eating healthy.

From cover to cover, Kelly offers a multitude of easy-to-implement, interactive lessons that invite us to explore gardening, bugs, bees, composting – all the skills we need to live sustainably.  Every exercise has been child-tested and includes simple instructions and comprehensive material lists. The lesson plans can be used in classes or by homeschooler – as a how-to guide for anyone wanting to live in harmony with nature – or enjoyed for the visual appeal of Kelly’s beautiful illustrations.  You can enjoy an exercise with your kids in an afternoon or follow the entire curriculum to start a thriving home or school garden.


Kelly Johnson by collards

Kelly stands by her collard that grew 13 feet and lived 4 years despite hot North Florida summers!



Inspired By Kelly’s Passion For Fresh Food

The book idea sprouted in Kelly’s creative mind about four years ago.  While teaching first and second graders, she was concerned children had little connection to the food in their lunches and the nature outside their front doors.

“I grew up around fresh veggies. I wanted to give my students the same fond memories and relationships I had with fresh foods.  There are many books available on how to create a garden, but few on what to do once it’s planted. So, I filled my book with practical tips and flexible lesson plans that can be adjusted to meet a wide variety of age groups and curricula strands.  The response has been great!  I love meeting people all over the world who are excited about growing gardens with children. It’s energizing to see adults and children pumped up on growing their own food!”


An Artfully Illustrated Educational Experience

swt potatoKelly drew the colorful illustrations that make this book so visually appealing.  From the adorable veggies and bugs to the large type and inviting page layouts – this visual masterpiece s a pleasure to read or peruse, as we might expect from an art major with an MA in Environmental Studies.

bee flower“I think the arts are an invaluable resource for connecting with the natural world. I wanted the book to be an inspiration in and of itself – to use my view of the world as a beautiful way of inspiring readers who may just be getting reconnected with nature to gain the confidence to get out there and grow their own with the children in their lives!  Nature’s beauty inspires us and fuels our senses of wonder – and keeps us returning to nature to receive its many benefits and gifts.”


Kelly’s Passion For Community & Sustainability

Kelly in the garden with her Montessori students

Kelly filled her book with easy, hands-on exercises that make exploring nature fun – all tested in her real-life experiences as a teacher, mother and community garden activist.

Kelly grew up in Virginia, eating fresh veggies while spending time in family gardens.  The sustainability movement caught her attention while attending art school in Savannah and working on organic farms at intentional communities.   She’s travelled the world and enjoys all types of unique plants, foods and adventure. She began sharing her passion for green living in 2000 when she became a Montessori teacher. She teaches now at Montessori Tides School in Jacksonville Beach.

Today Kelly’s actively involved with the Beaches Local Food Network Children’s Garden, Slow Food First Coast’s garden grant committee and DIG Local. She presents her work to educators at state, national and international conferences – and teaches workshops at local schools and community events.  If that weren’t enough to keep this energetic artist busy, she’s also inspiring local sustainability through her website.

Connect With Kelly

“I post musings of the human relationship with nature, links to unique nature and food based curricula, seasonal interviews with inspiring people working to connect children and nature.  The last Wednesday of each month is Wonder Wednesday where I post free lesson plans that compliment those in the book!”

Buy Wings, Worms & Wonder online.  Or pick up a copy at The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens Store or The Bookmark in Neptune Beach.

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By Trish Michaels

I’ve been gardening organically for 20+ years. I'm mostly vegetarian. I love cooking what I grow and creating recipes to incorporate whole grains, beans and seeds. In my Jacksonville home, I lower my carbon footprint with solar power, rainwater harvesting, composting, waste reduction, etc. I'm eager to do more! I launched Sustainable North Florida in 2012 as a way to donate my digital marketing skills to help promote the many sustainable events and people greening our community - and to connect with other locals who share my passion for protecting natural resources, eating healthy and living green. My vision is a more sustainable community that lovingly supports one another with knowledge and resources. Jacksonville is a great place to call home!

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