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There are hundreds of articles out there about how to get your kids to eat their vegetables. The methods detailed within the varying theses on the topic range from amusing forms of bribery to all-out scare tactics. However what most parents don’t understand is that it’s not about getting healthy food from plate-to-mouth that will put their kids on a proactive path to a healthier lifestyle, it’s getting them into the concept of the seed-to-table cycle that will work that magic. That’s right, the key to getting your children to eat their vegetables (so to speak) is to get them interested and involved in gardening activities. While this may seem like a tough task when they’re so often surrounded by HD video game systems and the Cartoon Network you’ll be surprised how quickly they’ll drop their controllers on the floor when getting the chance to hit the great outdoors with you to get some hands-on insight into how those veggies got onto their plate in the first place. Follow the five steps below and your children (or students) will look at gardening and nutrition in a whole new and exciting way.
5 Ways to Get Children Interested in Nutrition, Gardening, and Organic Foods
1. Take Them to Fun Farmers Markets
Gone are the days of when farmers’ markets consisted of only a few tables set up to hock the fruits (and veggies) of a farmer’s labor. Nowadays these gatherings include delicious natural food end-products (baked goods, chocolates, sauces, spreads, etc…), artisan crafts, live music, children’s activity areas, and of course a rainbow display of locally grown fruits and vegetables. During the spring and summer months (or year-round depending upon your climate) there is likely a weekly farmers’ market near you. However when you are out of town make it an activity for you and your child/children to try and hunt down the local markets when passing through and visiting the array of cities and towns during summer vacation. Farmers’ markets serve as a great entry into the concept of gardening and healthy living for your tots.
2. Get Them Involved in the Local Community Garden
If you are lucky enough to live near a community garden then getting your child involved in the care-taking and planting within serves to truly give them a vested interest not only in the concept of gardening, but in that of both nutrition and a sense of community as well. If you don’t have one located near you, then you and your child can organize a community garden in your neighborhood. Imagine the pride they’ll feel when bring a part of the genesis of such a grand endeavor!
3. Start Their Own Mini-Garden
If you don’t live in an area conducive to a backyard or community garden (concrete laden downtown core) you can still instill the same sense of pride in one’s work when it comes to your child being involved in the entire planting, growing, and harvesting process. Your seasonal climate will accommodate some sort of growth on your front patio or solarium. Together hit the web or local library like a team of investigative reporters to identify what can be grown within your limited square footage. Proceed to then gather info on how to plant and care for your child’s mini-garden and go get the seeds!
4. Take Them on Farm Visits
Farm visits are a great way to have your child experience the seed-to-table cycle on a grander scale. Depending upon the agricultural bounty surrounding your region they may prefer to visit the likes of an expansive corn field or an orchard lush with brightly dotted fruit trees. Many agriculturally rich areas have organized visitations noted on local horticultural society websites while some farms have their own sites with such information. If you want to learn more about children’s farm visits in BC click here.
5. Provide Them with Children’s Literature on Organic Gardening & Nutrition
Finally, there is no better way to give your child visions of organic plum tomatoes dancing in their head than by reading them to sleep at night with a fun children’s book about the seed-to-table gardening cycle. There are many available at your local bookstore that touch on gardening and nutrition however you are only one click away from the Plant A Seed Foundation’s popular Plant A Seed & See What Grows children’s book.
Do you have any ideas on how to get young ones excited about gardening, organic foods, and self-sustaining communities? Find this blog post on our Google+ page or on Facebook and share your ideas with us – we’d love to hear from you!