I’m a big believer in teaching our children the fundamentals of connecting to earth and understanding that food actually comes from the ground. I remember a while back when someone’s child I know said “eewww” in disgust when they saw dirt on a vegetable, and thinking it was normal for carrots to be bite-sized in pre-packaged plastic bags. Even though we don’t have much room for a big garden here at our house, we’ve planted small organic veggie and herb gardens in beds along with potted fruit trees like satsuma oranges, grapefruits and lemons.
Since our daughter was old enough to sit up, I’ve let her play in dirt and help plant seeds. John now holds her while he waters our garden so she can see the love that goes in to caring for plants, and already these last few weeks she now very happily wants to go outside and pull a carrot from the garden bed or pluck some strawberries (and when there’s none left to pick, I do the sneaky Mom thing and buy organic ones from the store and hide them in the plants so she can still pick a few to eat). I want her to know that not all fruits and vegetables look perfect like the pesticide-filled-wax-covered types you find in the store. I know – or at least hope – in the years to come this will help set the tone for healthy eating and a healthy respect for where our food comes from.
I encourage all parents out there to give it a try. It doesn’t take much space or money — plant a container, hang a planting bag, have an herb box in the kitchen — and let your kids get to know real food.