From Farm to Table: Connecting with Food

October 06, 2018

Quote of the Week

"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." -- Hippocrates

Teaching Children Where Their Food Comes From And Why It Really Matters

"A class of seven-year-olds are making maps to show where their food comes from. [...] The weave of their daily lives is revealed: the Saturday shop at Tesco followed by football practice, Sunday lunch at the pub, the family meal in the evening or maybe chips on the way home from school. Then they go a bit further up the food chain: where do these shops and cafes get their food from?

The children soon realize how much they don’t know. They plan an enquiry into the matter, using the internet and interviews. A farmer comes in to answer their questions, and it’s then that the magic happens. Children are enthralled to find out that it might actually be someone’s job to grow potatoes, milk cows and drive tractors. They lap up not just the fascinating details – like the existence of machines for scratching the backs of cows and how the potato farmer buys his potatoes back from the supermarket in the spring because he doesn’t have cold storage on the farm and his own potatoes have started to sprout by the end of the winter – but also the generalities of what it feels like on the inside of farming. “What’s good about being a farmer?” “If you hadn’t decided to be a farmer, what job would you have chosen?” they ask more than once. He talks about being in the fresh air, caring for animals, sharpening his skills and deriving satisfaction from producing food that people need.

Without thinking about it, he is giving the children a lesson in values. This matters, because children are growing up in a world that endlessly gives them the message that happiness comes from earning lots of money, having the latest gadgets and wearing the right brands of clothes. The education system, meanwhile, is increasingly based on the notion that academic achievement is all that really matters, leading to an emphasis on the things that can be measured – numeracy rather than creativity, literacy rather than self-expression. Qualities like kindness and courage, literally, don’t count. This can create a dichotomy between success, status, money and security on the one hand, and generosity, community and connection with nature on the other, and it is worth a closer look at what is going on." [read more]

Reading Corner

Title: Before We Eat: From Farm to Table
By: Pat Brisson & Mary Azarian
Ages: 4-8

Why?  "It's the perfect book to share with young children, and indeed family members of any age. It is a gorgeous reminder that our daily dining should not be taken for granted! Our food passes through many hands before it reaches our table. Before We Eat is a lovely way to start any family celebration, particularly Thanksgiving." -- Amazon Reviewer

Be the Change

Share insights from the featured article with your children over a meal this week and invite them to ask any questions they may hold about where food comes from. Together, think of practical ways your family can be more connected to your food -- you'll find some wonderful ideas here!