I was reading this great article “How Farmers Markets Can Teach Your Kids the Values of Local Food and Community Building” and thought it was great!
It talks about how kids can learn at farmer markets and how family farms need the communities support because large agribusiness dominates the food production and I completely agree. But why stop there? We can take this one step further by teaching kids how to grow their own food.
We will need more growers in order to create sustainable local food eating communities for our lifetime and the lifetimes to come. We have the opportunity to introduce food, health and growing food to our children which would allow them to explore it further, if they so wish, as adults. Today’s world has many technological and extra-curricular activities which stray away from the basics of life. The longer we wait to teach our children about growing food, the further they will get from it.
We can introduce our kids to living healthy by simply:
- Feeding them fresh food as an infant and toddler by puree or softening up food ourselves for them. Check out recipes here.
- Talking to them about the benefits of food as we learn them. Such as saying things like, “apples are a very healthy snack”. Watermelon is my favorite dessert.” Or avocados have a great source of healthy fat”….etc
- We can let them prepare food with us as soon as they start to ask (It might get messy but its worth it).
- We can save a seed from something we ate and have them grow it in a wet paper towel. It’s this easy.
- We can grow a small or large garden with them.
The benefits of teaching a child how to grow their own food are countless. Some of which are they will learn about science, nature and how God created this Earth.
Kids can learn:
– how vitamins and minerals in the soil will provide plants with nutrients and the plants provide animals and humans with other vitamins and minerals.
– how insects are attracted to plants through scents, smells and chemicals and how plants protect themselves by releasing chemicals to repel insects.
– plants communicate with each other to warn the others of pests.
– tiny little hard things, we call seeds, will turn into a beautiful plant and may even be edible.
– many beautiful plants are edible and support our body, mind, and spirit.
Gardening can even provide life lessons such as the circle of life. A child can watch life begin with a seed and eventually end which can give a child a healthy beginning to understanding life and death at a young age. A wonderful aspect of life and death with gardening is that plants will create many more seeds and life for a plant will begin again. It physically shows people how one plant can multiply into many. Which is parallel to human life and how one human life can affect so many others and create more lives.
On another note, gardening can teach kids about appreciation. In a world of instant gratification and entitlement, gardening provides kids a life lesson about hard work, patience, perseverance, and the joy a person can receive when they earn what they worked for. They will learn to truly appreciate what they have.
Growing food has an infinite number of benefits to raising happy, healthy and whole children that will hopefully be a happy, healthy and whole adult. So, please take your kids to the farmers market but don’t stop there. Empower your children by teaching them about living healthy, growing food and buying from small local farms.
What benefits have you noticed from growing a garden?