Buy local produce and be Eco-friendly by saving the energy to prepare our food for shipping and the fuel used by trucks to transport it. Many kids are afraid of getting dirty and have no idea where their food comes from. What could be more local than creating a raised bed vegetable garden in our own backyard? Growing fruits and veggies in large pots on the patio, herbs and veggies in wall planting pockets, or herbs in window sills excites kids to prepare and eat them. Eating food that grows where we live also helps with our allergies and immunities.
Kids love strawberries as a snack any time of day. When put in reusable containers, kids can take strawberries with them for lunch or picnics. Besides being delicious, strawberries are a Super Fruit: an excellent source of vitamin C, antioxidants, potassium, and fiber. Strawberries help with immunities and brain health.
2 Persian cucumbers 1 garlic clove ½ cup grape tomatoes 1 tbsp virgin olive oil 1 green onion 1 tsp balsamic vinegar Seasoned salt basil, oregano, parsley leaves
Wash veggies. Slice cucumbers and cut tomatoes in half. Chop onion and garlic finely. Mix in a bowl with oil and vinegar, salt, and fresh herb leaves cut from your garden or windowsill planter.
The health of plants, soil, livestock, and our kids are interrelated. Working in an organic garden and kitchen gives our children a chance to get connected to what is alive on the planet around them. Organic foods are produced without the toxic chemicals commonly used on growing produce since the 1950’s. These toxic long lasting chemicals have harmed our environment and our health. These synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, and genetically engineered organisms and growth enhancers do not support a biologically diverse healthy soil. Instead of depleting the soil, organic farmers create and maintain a healthy soil by rotating crops to add nutrients and limit insect habitat. Plant waste compost kills pathogens and weed seeds and is a rich fertilizer for soil life and healthy crops. Organic farmers use natural predators to control pests that destroy their crops, use earthworms to aerate the soil, and have cover crops planted to enrich the soil.
You need less of quality food, organic whole grains, to feel full and be healthy. Fresh picked, organic produce is more colorful, smells better, has a better texture, and is tastier than frozen, canned, or conventional produce. Some veggies like cherry tomatoes or corn are delicious eaten fresh picked standing in the garden. Pointing children to the joys of growing and cooking their own food instills positive eating habits, leadership skills, and better attitudes. When kids pick, wash, and steam their own veggies, they can hardly wait to eat their own preparation. Local organic produce has more nutritional value, is tastier, and helps the environment.