If you ask most young children where their food comes from, the chances are that they’ll answer ‘the supermarket’, or even ‘mummy’ rather than give you a rundown of the latest advances in crop farming. This is a pretty common response. After all, if you don’t have an allotment, or visit the local farm store regularly, it’s all too easy for kids to start believing that apples are grown out of plastic bags with the local supermarket logo written on the side!
When it comes to food, a little education goes a long way, especially if you’re trying to help the environment when you shop. That’s why it pays to take your kids to four key foodie locations in your local area. Pack them all into half-term for an educational food week that will encourage your whole family to be more planet-positive.
Destination One: The German/French Food Market
French and German food markets still tour many local High Streets. They may not be particularly authentic (or good for the environment) but they do help make it very clear to kids that some of their favourite food comes from foreign soil. Take time to wander round and show kids how each country has food that is special to their culture. Remember to finish the visit with a tasty crepe or a spot of delicious cake!
Make your next ‘big shop’ more educational by asking kids to find out just how many countries their food comes from. See who can discover the most exotic country on food packets, then, on the way home, talk about how air miles can be damaging to the environment. Discuss how, as a family, you could change this in a practical way – either by growing produce in your back garden or buying more local food.
Destination Three: The Local Allotments
If you’ve decided to grow some of your fruit and veg at home, then this trip should provide your kids with plenty of inspiration! Thanks to their newfound popularity, many allotments now have family open days where you can chat to growers and see the produce for yourselves. If not, try and convince a sympathetic friend to show your family around their patch. Seeing vegetables being dug up really brings it home to children that all our food has a deep connection with the earth.
Destination Four: The Farmers’ Market
If you haven’t got the energy, know-how or resources to grow in the back garden, then take your children to meet the professionals. A farmers’ market is designed to bring the growers’ produce direct to the consumer, and many of the stall holders will be happy to chat to your kids about the benefits of buying local (and organic) food. If you don’t have a regular event near you then find out if a local farm can help. Farms are increasingly seeing the benefits of providing farm shops selling homegrown produce, and may even offer tours. There might even be a petting zoo - although it might be best to tell your kids where sausages come from at another time!