My children were born in Burlington, Vermont where there is a well-established and organized local food movement. My husband and I loved visiting the year round farmers’ markets with the kids each Saturday. We’d meet the farmers and vendors of our favorite products. Over time we established relationships with local artisans and growers and felt more connected to the food on our table.
Kids who are raised in the urban set up these days are missing out the fun in running through the farms and nurturing greens. Watching a tiny seed grow to a plant and then yield fruits can teach kids a sense of responsibility. It can also teach them patience and the power of nurturing something with love. When children are taught about the whole process of growing the food they would be able to understand the number of efforts that go into harvesting every grain. One of the major problems that parents complain when it comes to the eating habits of their kids is that kids are either fussy or they often try to escape from healthy food. When children are exposed to gardening and the art of growing food right from a very young age, it can have plenty of benefits. To begin with, kids get to know the value of food on understanding the difficulty in growing and harvesting food crops and the source of where they all come from. When they gain this awareness they would not feel like wasting food. So they would learn to enjoy every single meal as they know the amount of love that goes into the making of that meal and the harvesting of the produce used in the meal. Taking care of plants, whether they are ornamental or food crops, requires patience and a lot of time. Gardening is a calming activity that can teach children the power of caring for another life form. This goes a long way and when parents start early it is easier to get the kids interested in gardening.
Local and responsible eating are values we hope to instill in our children. We try to engage them in their meals in a variety of ways from exposing them to markets to teaching them about food production in age appropriate ways. Although we’ve moved a lot in the past two years we’ve had fun with indoor gardens. They’re a great way to teach kids about responsible local eating and a nice excuse to have fresh herbs on hand.