With fewer farmers, less land and a larger population it is easy to see how so many people have become disconnected with where their food comes from. It is important for people to understand where their food is coming from for health and for understanding of the agricultural industry. For this to happen there needs to be a shift in perception – a new understanding of health in relation to our bodies, the food we eat, where it comes from, and our environment. This shift is not as hard to make as you may think- you just need a little perspective. What better way to gain perspective then by walking a mile in someone else’s shoes – or in this case, a farmer’s rubber boots!
The following list includes some fun ideas for the whole family, to educate everyone about where their food comes from. Who knows; the whole family might learn something new on the way!
Go on a farm tour: One of my favorite memories as a child was when my grade one class went on a tour of a local farm. It was an old McDonald type of farm, so it had a little bit of everything including crops, cows, chickens, pigs, and goats. At the end of the tour we all got to pick out a vegetable to take back to our classroom. Once we got back to the classroom we put all of our vegetables together along with some noodles and ground pork to make a delicious soup. This is a day that I will never forget. This experience would be easy to replicate at your own home and is a fun, fast and easy way to get your kids involved.
Take your children to the farmers market/grocery shopping: This activity creates family bonding time, but might be more convenient then going out to the actual farm, if you live in a city. Let each family member pick out a vegetable they want to try (even if you don’t like it). Kids will be more apt to eat what they make themselves or if they were involved in the process. Perhaps, it is the excitement of creating something themselves, but they will be more likely to eat whatever they had a hand in making.
Prepare dinner as a family: Creating positive food experiences with your kids will help them develop healthy eating patterns. Teaching your kids how to cook with all four food groups including lean meat, fresh vegetables, dairy and grains will reinforce positive habits for their whole life. Also, teaching your kids to cook will provide them with other skills that last a lifetime. For instance, learning to cook as a family will increase your child’s self-esteem. Being able to accomplish a task and see it through the whole way will show them that they can make a difference and be independent. Taking time to cook with your kids will provide them with memories that they, in turn, can pass on to their families. It may take a longer time to get the meal or snack done, but the moments with your children will be priceless.