Can you do one thing for me?
Just one thing.
Teach your kids where food comes from. Please.
Pick one thing! Your kid drinks a ton of milk? Teach them where milk comes from, how it is made. Please don’t let them think it comes from a bag at the grocery store. Maybe you don’t have access to a dairy farm, but I’m pretty sure you have access to the interweb machine and youtube. Get on there! And if you don’t know-learn with them! Find out! A great man once told me that kids are sponges and soak up so much information-they YEARN for knowledge, and it’s true so give them what they want.
For the second year in a row, I am planting a vegetable garden with my kids. This year will be easier than last year. I learned a lot, what works, what doesn’t. And my kids are a year older so they are slightly more helpful. Slightly. But that’s the fun in it. It took all morning to go and get the plants, dig holes, place the seeds and water it. So worth it.
Ok, it wasn’t the EASIEST thing to do with three children…aged 4, 3 and 2…and it WAS fun…for a bit. Then I gave them something else to play with and finished the gardening myself. But they still learned something and put seeds in the ground. They’ll understand where carrots come from this year dammit.
I let them choose plants and seeds at the “Plant store” and we talked about what it takes for food to grow. They’ve been helping me weed and prepare the garden too. I want them to know it’s not as easy at it looks, or maybe it’s easier than they thought. I want them to appreciate farmers and what they do for us.
My little redhead planted his tomato plant all by himself. In the plastic container it came in. Lesson number one started early.
I want them to know the connection food has to the earth and that it takes TIME. That food does not grow overnight. The look on their faces when they see a cherry tomato starting to grow or a bud come out of the ground is amazing! Especially once it’s out of the container it came in.
When we receive food from our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) this summer covered in dirt-I want them to know WHY. It comes from the earth! Not all food comes clean and prepped and cut and ready, and who else is going to teach them this stuff?
You don’t have to plant a garden, visit a farm or start home schooling about farm culture. But if you pick one food and teach them about it, they’ll probably start asking about other foods and where they comes from and the wheels start turning! I know what you’re thinking-more questions? NO THANKS. But if you’re in the mood, it can be fun.
I have unleashed a beast, however, and my oldest did ask me where people come from…I simply said: “People come from people.” I’m leaving that one alone for now.
If you are a meat eater, like we are, maybe wait a little bit before introducing kids to a youtube video on where meat comes from…I’m not saying they shouldn’t KNOW, I’m just saying you don’t want to scar them at such an early age. It’s still important to know where meat comes from-and I’m honest with my kids about beef coming from cows and chicken coming from chickens, but maybe start with cucumber or something. Not killing animals. Just saying.
Meat comes from animals. People come from people. Avoidance? Possibly. Do I care? Mmmm…not really. We’ll get there.
So pick a sunny day, maybe you’re at the library. Grab a book about veggies, turn on the computer-whatever! Go to the grocery store and pick up some beans or berries and have a conversation. Cook with them. Please-just please-do this one thing for me this summer? Let’s get our kids educated about FOOD. It’s important. And we’re the first people they look to for this stuff. We may as well have some answers. Delicious answers. You don’t want your kids growing up not knowing the difference between green beans and kidney beans…do you?
And then they can go play in the sprinkler and forget everything you just told them. But you can only hope some of it sticks! That’s our job, isn’t it? Trying to make things stick (and I suppose unstick) to our kids for the rest of our lives and hope they can fend for themselves one day. You can’t deny it’s importance and we shouldn’t deny our children.
By the way, if you’re wondering about my CSA, here is their website: Rainbow Heritage Garden. They are amazing and their vegetables are so fresh and incredible. It really tastes different from what you can get at the store. Just awesome! I’m so excited to get our first basket!