We recently kick-off the month long Locavore Challenge with Greener Partners. A Locavore is someone who is committed to supporting local agriculture and businesses by only eating food grown or produced in their community or region.
Becoming a Locavore is a great opportunity to instill thoughtful eating habits with your children. It’s not as challenging as you might think! In fact, involving the kids makes the journey much more fun…here’s how:
Take them with you: It is my experience that kids learn by example – good and bad. I am sure I am not the only Mom who has uttered a not-so-appropriate word a time or two. What happens? A few moments later my little one is parroting my verbal slip. Bad Mommy. The great news is, however, it works both ways. I try to bring my 5-year-old with me each week when picking up our CSA share or to special events at the Longview Center for Agriculture. She even attended the CSA kick-off event last Spring. Although she may not have absorbed everything that was discussed, she was introduced to the faces of the program and got to tour the farm. It was a Locavore kick-off for both of us.
Participate: If you’re like me, finding fun, educational and budget friendly outings for my daughter can often seem a daunting task. A day at a theme park can cost a small fortune and usually cannot be tackled on a moment’s notice. For kid-friendly activities that you can do more frequently, look for local venues that provide outdoor experiences, pick-your-own fruits and veggies, weekly story times and small workshops. Your time is well spent, your child is enriched and your hard-earned dollars stay within your community.
Let Them Help: Whether its weighing the sweet potatoes at CSA pick-up, clipping the pole beans from their stems or assembling their own chicken & veggie wrap (with cheese of course!), active little hands are learning all sorts of new things. Engaging them in the process of choosing the food they eat creates an excitement about actually eating it.
Talk About Geography: Getting a grasp on geography and distance is not an easy thing for a young child. My daughter has taken to compartmentalizing her frequent haunts into separate “worlds”: Uncle Johnny’s World, aka, Philadelphia, Aunt Nancy’s World, aka, The Shore and so on…exposing her to locally grown foods makes her “worlds” smaller, so to speak. She can easily understand that the corn she is eating was grown just down the road. It did not come from a world hundreds or even thousands of miles away. She can actually see the progression of the food from a small sprout in the field to the roasted cob in her hand…and it all happened in “her world”.
Grow Things: Last summer, we grew a strawberry. Yes, one strawberry. But it was the “greatest strawberry ever grown”. Well, at least that is what my daughter exclaimed when she saw it peeking out from the blossoming plant in her “growing pot”. She is constantly asking to plant things – from the seeds in her apple to the mush from her Halloween pumpkin. Unfortunately, we do not have a yard suitable for a vegetable garden, so, we make do with containers. And it does not matter that we only get one strawberry from our weeks, or months, of careful tending, it only matters that she watched it happen and ultimately, she grew herself a little something to eat – just like the farmers do.
I have to admit, we don’t do this perfectly, but we try. A little bit of change here and there makes for a much larger impact down the road. By including my daughter in this journey, it adds a bit more fun, a bit more adventure and ultimately benefits us both.
Enjoy your afternoon!