Children and our connection to our food

Back in March 2019, it seems like an age ago now, just before the world went a bit sideways we had a visit from a local national school of 60 or so excited children.   It was a wet windy and extremely mucky day. The kids were here to learn about food and how it’s inextricably linked to sustainability, healthy eating, climate change, and crucially the health of our land and soil.

That is me trying to share my food vision with my daughter by getting her to eat broccoli 13 years ago and failing!

They had such fun. I think my favourite moment of the tour as I was digging carrots was watching all the small hands grabbing and grappling in the mucky soil to pull out those lovely little carrots.  At one stage, in a field completely saturated with muck and water there were sixty children running and jumping all over the place, loving nature and being outside. I did extend a little compassion to the teachers who would have to round them all up at the end of the day!

They were very enlightened little people; they knew about the bees and about pesticides and climate change.

It’s funny that whilst us adults will do all we can to avoid the muck and the puddles, children embrace the messiness of it all. They are instinctively happier outside and seem to have an innate appreciation of the beauty of nature and just get on and have fun whatever the weather, and after harvesting those carrots they were adamant they were going to eat them all for their tea, and I bet they did.

What we as adults do now and the vision of the earth our children learn to see will shape the future of our planet. We are the guardians of that vision, and it would be wise to remember they do as we do; not as we say.

A little example and a little nurturing are all it takes to open our children’s eyes to the value of food. Some of the kids I spoke to thought carrots came from a supermarket shelf not from a field! You should have seen their excitement when they pulled their first carrot ever.

This disconnection from the land and the growing of food is the product of our modern food system. For most of us we are only 2 generations removed from having grown our own carrots.  How easy to change this and re-educate both ourselves and our children about the value of food, about the origin of food, and about the value of the land that we tread upon beneath our feet.

“Despite all our accomplishments we owe our existence to a six-inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains” Paul Harvey

We are not all blessed with a little patch of ground… I get that, but we all can manage a little flowerpot on the windowsill planted with some seeds, and how exciting to see the plants flourish. 

Maybe we owe it to ourselves and to our children to find out a little more about how our food is produced?