Getting kids to understand and appreciate the value of food is synonymous to a herculean task, or so I thought until I interviewed a chef and local foods advocate several years ago. She says that instilling food values in your kids is as easy as growing and harvesting food with them. Who would have thought that getting your kids to plant a tomato or harvest a truck load of apples from an orchard will banish the “picky” and “ungrateful” eaters in them! But the truth is, the planting and harvesting process births a beautiful and inexplicable connection between kids and food.
If you’ve ever taken a kid to pick up strawberries in a strawberry patch or harvest sugar snap peas, you would attest to their eagerness and enthusiasm to eat the foods they cultivated or harvested themselves than those they didn’t. And anyone will agree that time spent in an orchard or garden amongst berries, peas, tomatoes and so on is rewarding and fun-filled.
Famous British chef and restauranteur, Jamie Oliver advises parents, educators and healthy- eating advocates to teach kids about food by instilling a sense of food coming from the earth rather than the store. It is essential that kids understand the origin of food to appreciate its value. It is only after they grasp the essence of food that the willingness to eat veggies and fruits will develop.
Admittedly, picking berries with kids and popping them into the mouth may not be the best definition of fun. I wouldn’t say I enjoyed the blueberry flinging that followed afterwards, when my kids got bored and decided to play “ball”. But then, kids will be kids!
That aside, a pick- your – own experience is a fantastic family-bonding activity even for city folks. Weekends and vacations make the perfect time to pick berries or do some gardening. Thankfully, there are several listings for farmers markets and pick-your-own opportunities in many places — you only need to find them.
Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser is a prolific writer whose work is published in the eBook anthology, Welcome to My World, Brain Child Magazine, the Huffington post, Babble & Bamboo magazine amongst a host of others. She blogs for Teen Life and has her own blog at the valley advocate, called, Standing in the Shadows. She and her beloved husband are raising four adorable and energetic kids while dealing with the accompanying chaos and sleep deprivation.
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POSTED IN: FOOD · TAGGED: FARMS, OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES, SUMMER VACATION, WEEKEND