Soup & Salad: From Camden to the World


Sharing the wealth in Camden.

This year, the Camden City Garden Club and Camden Children’s Garden are serving up a “Passport to the World” exhibit filled with veggies fit for a delicious soup and salad. In an effort to address the important global issue of food security and sustainability, the display will show visitors how to grow their own produce.

 A giant sculpted soup bowl and salad plate will serve as the fanciful containers for the plants, making the exhibit look like a huge delectable meal. The giant bowls demonstrate how easy it is to grow veggies anywhere, especially in an urban environment.

 Plump tomatoes, spicy peppers, mineral-rich potatoes, lettuce, carrots, Swiss chard and high-fiber plants such as broccoli and cabbage will be growing throughout the display.  The exhibit has also been infused with savory herbs such as purple basil, oregano, rosemary and sage. 

“Garden-fresh herbs and spices are not only flavor enhancers, but they also are rich sources of antioxidants and allow chefs to create delicious, low-calorie dishes,” says Tracy Tomchik from Camden Children’s Garden. “This exhibit will represent the beauty and practicality of vegetable gardening, as well as promote healthy eating.”

Harvesting Veggies in Camden


To enhance the whimsy of this children’s exhibit, Tomchik says the garden will also include flowers such as tall mallow, snapdragons, astilbe, Persian shield, clematis, impatiens and a children’s favorite, lamb’s ear.

Unlike past Camden City Garden Club Flower Show exhibits, this display will not be later installed at the Camden Children’s Garden.  Instead, part of the display will settle at the new Campbell Soup Company World Headquarters, currently being expanded in Camden, N.J.

Tomchik says the exhibit designers were inspired by the resurgence of backyard vegetable gardening and the growing epidemic of obesity, especially in impoverished children living in cities like Camden. Experts say children are more likely to eat food that they help grow. So, stop by the Camden Children’s Garden exhibit at the Philadelphia International Flower Show and see how easy it is to grow your own meal!

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2 Responses to “Soup & Salad: From Camden to the World”

  1. Tracy Tomchik Says:

    Grow Your Own Soup & Salad!
    Tips From the Camden Children’s Garden!

    Grow the ingredients for soup or salad on windowsill or in an outdoor container garden!

    1) PICK A PLACE!
    Choose an indoor or outdoor area that gets at least 6 hours of sun a day. Position your garden in an area accessible for watering and harvesting. In the winter, grow your plants indoors using a grow light.

    Soup Garden: If you have a container that is at least 1 foot deep, you can plant vegetables that require more space for rooting, such as: carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, celery, onions, garlic, chives, rutabaga, turnips, and other soup vegetables.
    Salad Garden: Lots of salad greens and other vegetables can be grown indoors/outdoors in small, shallow containers and eaten raw. For your salad garden, it is best to choose non-root vegetables that can be easily grown in shallow soil, such as leaf lettuce, mesclun mix lettuce, arugula, cilantro, dill, sweet fennel, oregano, mustard greens, spinach, beet sprouts, radish sprouts, carrot sprouts, green onions, basil, thyme, chives, and swiss chard.

    Once you have purchased seeds for your favorite vegetables, choose containers that resemble soup bowls or salad plates – this will remind you and your children that these living plants will soon be enjoyed as healthy meals! For a windowsill garden, try to choose terracotta containers shaped like a soup or salad bowl, and then place your favorite salad plate or tray under the container to catch the draining water. Encourage your children to decorate the containers with drawings of vegetables using paint or permanent marker. For a patio garden, recycle a baby pool that could resemble a salad bowl, and be sure to poke holes in the bottom and place in a location where water can drain out the bottom.

    Fill your container with moistened soil-less mix and DO NOT use soil from your yard, because natural soil can contain weed seeds and pathogens. Sprinkle vegetable seeds on the soil and cover lightly with soil-less mix. For plant-specific spacing information or detailed instructions, refer to the label on your seed packet. Use popsicle sticks to label planting rows by writing plant names or have child draw picture of vegetable. Gently water the soil-less with a spray bottle, and keep moist while you wait for seeds to grow. You can even cover the container with plastic wrap or moistened paper towels to prevent it from drying out. Since plants that are grown in containers dry out faster than plants rooted in the earth, water often and thoroughly when the surface of the soil is dry and light in color. You can also fertilize your plants with some organic fertilizer, such as compost tea, to make your plants grow bigger and healthier. As the seedlings begin to grow, thin by cutting the plants off at the base – this practice will prevent root damage to the surrounding plants that would occur if you ripped the plants out.

    5) PULL & PREPARE!
    Thin container gardens by harvesting delicious and nutritious sprouts. Leave only a few plants on vine to reach maturity because you may not have enough room for all sprouting plants to fully grow. Use homegrown vegetables in salads or soups. Amazing recipes from chefs at the Campbell Soup Company can be found online at Once you have harvested all of the plants from your container, reseed so you can have a reoccurring harvest.

    Healthy Recipes and Hands-On Activities for Kids From the Camden Children’s Garden:

    Parents and children can couple gardening with the hands-on nutritional lessons below to pair garden-fresh produce with fun activities. Kids can learn about the food pyramid and the importance of a balanced diet with a variety of produce.

    1) Pyramid In A Pot: It is important that children learn at an early age about the food pyramid and the importance of eating from all of the 5 food groups. Teachers /parents can purchase food as well as using homegrown food. Children should be given a few choices that represent each food group in the USDA nutrition advisory program “MyPyramid”. Using foods to create a soup or stew that incorporates the whole pyramid. Find a recipe with these ingredients from the soup experts at the Campbell Soup Company online at Try these ideas below to incorporate each part of the food pyramid:

    Vegetables: carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes;
    Bread: whole wheat elbow macaroni, pastina. rice, grains
    Protein: chicken, or turkey; beans or seafood;
    Milk: various low fat cheeses, cream or milk-based soup broth
    Fruit: cherry tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, peas.

    2) Rainbow Salad: Eating a variety of colors is a good way to include a variety of vitamins and minerals in your diet! It can be fun to make sure you include all the colors of a rainbow in your salad. On top of your green lettuce, add some red tomatoes, orange carrots, yellow peppers, blue blueberries and purple grapes. The assortment of colors is a fun way to be sure to include a variety of vitamins and minerals in your family’s diet! You can create a fruit or vegetable salad or even mix the two for a healthy, tasty meal that is vibrant in colors and nutrition! Try growing some of these in your own garden.

    3) Roughage Wraps: Don’t have a bowl? Try a wrap! These tasty snacks are great for little hands and are easy and safe for kids since there is no cooking involved. Basically, kids go to the garden and gather their favorite veggies to be chopped up by a grownup. The wrap part can be made from their favorite roughage (e.g. spinach, romaine lettuce or cooked cabbage). Kids simply roll up their chopped veggies in the roughage. To add some extra flavor, include cheeses and spices inside the wrap, or just dip the finished rollup in low fat salad dressing. This is a fun and easy way to enjoy your harvest.

    Vary your veggies.
    Dark green and orange vegetables have most nutritional value – spinach, broccoli, carrots, & sweet potatoes.
    Focus on fruits.
    Eat fruits at meals and at snack time – fresh, frozen, canned, or dried. Go easy on the fruit juice.
    Go lean with protein.
    In addition to lean beef, chicken, turkey, eggs, or fish, you can also get protein from your garden by growing beans (pinto, kidney, soy, lima), peas (snow, chickpeas, sugar snap), nuts, and even seeds!

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