Time for Kids: 3 Ways to teach children about local food
As the local planting and growing season gets started, now is the perfect time to teach kids about local food and make a fun plan to do things throughout the summer to maintain the excitement. This could be the year your children begin to happily eat their vegetables. Call it an agventure and check out three ways to get your kids to love locally grown food.
Plan a field trip to a local farm where the kids can see how food is grown and maybe even meet the farmer. There are many farms where kids can pick their own sugar snap peas, strawberries or apples as they walk the fields or orchards.
“It’s a great way for kids and families to really connect with their community and their environment,” says SSM Health Family Physician Dr. Roopa Shah, a proponent of eating local. “Fresh, local foods taste better and, on the farm, you can also learn more about where your food came from.”
Some farms even offer farm-to-table meals prepared by a chef who cooks under a white tent in the middle of the field the same day the food was picked and then personally places the delicious dinner items on your plate. It doesn’t get tastier or fresher than that! Others offer kid-friendly educational areas where guests can roam freely among the chickens, watch goats playing and take a look at the current crops. It’s called agritourism and your kids will love it no matter the season.
GO TO A FARMERS’ MARKET
The Dane County Farmers’ Market surrounds the capital building in Madison every Saturday and happens to be America’s largest producer-only farmers’ market. Going to a farmers’ market will allow your kids to see a wide variety of in season fruits and vegetables. As you move through the market, encourage your kids to pick an item they would like to try. Once you get home, do some research on the food items they chose so they can learn more about them. You can find local Farmers’ Markets across Wisconsin by searching the Wisconsin Farmers’ Market Association database.
MAKE A MEAL OR DESSERT TOGETHER
Make a pizza with your kids using local cheese and other veggie toppings you got at the farmers market. Try homemade ice cream featuring locally-sourced milk, cream and fruit. Create no-cook freezer jam with berries you picked yourselves. Or make a snack tray with vegetables your child chose.
By helping your children learn where food comes from, they may be willing to take a bite of veggies they have never tasted. They’ll begin to appreciate the work that goes into growing the items on their plate and you’ll have a fun time making memories.
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