Meet Rylee Phelps; actually, visit the Youth Garden at Veggielution on any given Saturday morning, and she’ll likely introduce herself to you… and then invite you to the Willow Dome “hideout”. Rylee and her mom, Amber Parisie, first discovered Veggielution at the San Pedro’s Farmers’ Market. Since her first visit to the Youth Garden in August of 2013, Rylee has emerged as a youth leader, greeting children new to the garden. “I like to be welcoming… give them choices on what they want to do with me.” She will invite them to harvest, plant, and of course, to hang out in the Willow Dome “hideout”.
Besides making new friends and playing, Rylee’s love of learning about new plants and animals has grown. Rylee’s grandmother initiated a love of gardening, and according to Amber, Rylee gardens at home much more since coming out to the Youth Garden. At home, Rylee grows tomatoes, kale, spinach, chard, carrots, mint, and lavender. Of her own accord, Rylee was inspired to give back to the Youth Garden when, a few months ago, she brought a small pot teeming with chard sprouts she started at home.
As a registered dietitian, Amber says she can’t complain how much Rylee enjoys harvesting and eating the fresh from the garden… even if it means some of the plants they grow at home don’t get very big because Rylee has eaten them up. To supplement their backyard garden, they were Veggielution Farm Box members for the Winter 2013-14 season, and will continue for the Summer 2014 box.
In addition to gardening, Rylee really enjoys peacock feather hunting, monkey bars, gymnastics, and loves reading. When asked about how the Youth Garden could be improved, Rylee explains: “Nothing. It’s perfect just the way it is to me… Oh! Don’t change the baby chicks.” Be sure to stop by the Youth Garden any Saturday from 10am-12:30pm to meet Rylee, Amber, and other Youth Garden friends.