|Our patio tomatoes, in addition to the garden.|
We buy so much of it processed and packaged, neat and tidy, wrapped and unrecognizable, that we don't have a tangible, personal sense of where it comes from and what it does in our bodies.
I have made it my mission to teach Brady where food, at its most basic, comes from.
We do this in a variety of ways out here in the country: we rode a combine, then collected and ground our own wheat grains; we fish and hunt; we collect apples, mulberries and other fruit; we garden.
Here are some ideas for connecting kids to food in the city:
|He looks concerned, but felt proud eating a fish he caught.|
Grow veggies or fruits in pots
No matter where you live, you can grow something. It can be tomatoes or peppers in pots on the porch, or even herbs in the kitchen window. Just plant a seed, let your kid see it grow and then let him eat it.
Find a community garden
At the American Community Gardening Association website, you can search for community gardens in your area. Often you can cheaply purchase and maintain your own plot if you don't have much land. Other times you can buy fresh produce from it.
Here are my results searching in the Wichita, KS area.
|We made this guacamole together from scratch.|
Find a U-pick farm
At PickYourOwn.org, you can find a farm where you go and pick your own fruits and veggies straight from the plant or tree. Here are the ones I found in Kansas.
Take a farm tour
Google your state's name and "farm tours" and see what comes up. When we lived in Florida, Worden Farm was nearby. A kid gets to see just exactly what happens on a farm, whether it is dairy, animals or produce.
Go fishingI think fishing is empowering for anyone. To be able to catch supper with your own hands is huge. And you also learn to take personal responsibility for the animal whose life is given for yours.
Cook together and talk
Brady has made biscuits from scratch, homemade (egg-free!) ice cream, guacamole and lots of other things. Learning about preparation and ingredients and mixing and baking can help a kid connect to what he's eating. Talk about why things are mixed and cooked in a certain way.
Buy things whole & DIY
We have made homemade bread crumbs, ice cream, stuffing, wheat flour, tortillas, pickled beets, applesauce, pickled tomatoes, salsa, baked potato "chips", guacamole, re-fried beans, etc. We're always willing to try to make something ourselves if we can (peanut butter is next on the list!). Kids learn so much from seeing the process of how something is made from scratch.
Supplement with the Internet
For the things you cannot show them about where food comes from, go online. There are so many videos and photos for gardening, canning, cooking and probably even for meat. Meat is the hardest to connect to, which is a good side effect of our hunting and fishing.