Wednesday, June 26, 2013

8 ways to connect kids to food in the city

Our patio tomatoes, in addition to the garden.
I am convinced a lot of our troubles with unhealthy eating in the U.S. stem from the fact that we are very disconnected from our food.

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, 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 fishing
I 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.


  1. U Pick farms are great! We hope to visit another one for berries later this summer.

  2. I think this post is important, because kids really do need to know more about where food comes from and what goes in to their bodies. A few years ago I watched Jamie Oliver's show Food Revolution and some of the kids could not identify a tomato and had no idea that french fries came from potatoes. So sad!

    My kids and I actually just went to a U-Pick farm today to pick our own blackberries and rasberries. The kids enjoy the fruit so much more when they put in the labor to pick them off the vine!

    1. I loved that show! It was amazing the things Jamie found in the U.S. and schools. Understanding what you're eating and why you're eating it makes a huge difference. I adore our garden and Brady has eaten things he probably never would have otherwise, like okra!


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