Saturday, January 24, 2015

They are the future of food!

When your five year old thinks of his/her favorite food, do chemically-processed and GMO foods come to mind, such as chips, cokes, and candy? If so, why? Have you made it a priority to teach "them" about the lacing of the processed foods that is done to make them addicted? How about shutting down the technology for a while and getting out this spring with them and growing some really awesome foods! Do they know where flour comes from? Or that tomatoes come in more colors than red, as do watermelons? Have they ever tasted a fresh food they grew themselves? It really doesn't take much to invest in their future, giving them the skills and knowledge that will last a lifetime. Don't be afraid to learn with them. Be willing to make mistakes. It does require some time and a little sweat, but it will feed both body and soul. Isn't that how kids spell love anyway? TIME!When my children were younger, I started gardening with them in a backyard of a .25 acre lot. We had no idea how just working together in those days would bring us to where we are now. We grew everything from non-GMO corn, to tomatoes, squash, and melons. We became a family committed to a better way of thinking, eating, and living to keep ourselves healthy and have fun. It evolved as we learned more and more about our modern day food supply and we added in new things a little at a time. We began to go bigger and get more serious with each year, taking new steps toward being more food independent. We made mistakes, and experienced failures but were willing to accept that lots of things can happen when dealing with nature. It's a learning process and every year has been different. We learned to get creative to keep our children interested.
Now every year we grow much of our own foods, put 'em up for the winter, and have sooo many cool experiences no one can take away. We are "growing together"! Memories and skills are being sowed into the gardens of their hearts. We have a history in the garden and while we work, we sing, play, and discover with one another. We often go to school in the garden. We also have history and geography lessons right in the garden. We play "good bug, bad bug" and get a first-hand science demonstration at the same time!
"Where did this tomato plant come from? Where is Lithuania?"
"Is a praying mantis a good bug or bad bug?"
"What about this eggplant? Where did it come from? What kind of beetle is this?"
"Why do we need to water and weed?"
"How do the bee's make honey? So we eat bee throw up?" My children love to say "I love bee throw up!"  The learning is truly endless.
 One of our favorite things to do each winter, is drool over seed catalogs and make a detailed Family Garden Album for each year. We cut out pictures with descriptions and Days To Harvest Info of what we buy and are going to plant, then paste on paper. We slide these pages into a plastic covering and place it in a three ring binder. The kids have an art contest to see who can design the best "Garden Album" cover. Then we slide those into place in front and back of the binder to give that real creative family garden album feel. We fill pages by like-kinds category and label color tabs for each category, ie. tomatoes or corn. Then when its all full of our detailed crops, we will have a treasure of things to look at and info to turn when planning for summer. It gives them something to look forward to before summer and crops are actually here. It really helps when you've forgotten a lot of details about an item and you need to find out, such as when it should be ripening.
 My son has begun an organic strawberry patch that is giving us fresh fruit, for pennies on the dollar. My littlest girl has (unintentionally) bred a cross tomato that is Orange and weighs 2lbs. My oldest daughter has grown tomatoes from Germany and other places around the world. My other children have tasted the fruits of melons of all shapes and sizes that they helped to grow. What kinds of foods do they speak of or think of? They don't want to eat foods that could cause them potential illness or ruin the health they've been given. They are already concerned for their own food supply. That is an interesting thing. They are learning to "think" about what they eat. From raised beds to fruit trees and bushes, it's not too much work to put together a garden for "them" to work on now. Sowing the seeds of the future generations does matter. What will happen to human kind when our food supply is only mass produced and then distributed to us by others? Do you know history? How many people have starved to death on societies like that? They need now the skills that could one day keep them, and all man-kind, alive and healthy. They need to be able to make intelligent decisions about their own food and their future. No food, no future. It's kind of important.
Whether you're looking to go green, eat healthier, or avoid chemicals and harmful things in your diet, you can do it with "them". I challenge you to place a seed catalog in front of a child today and ask, "So, what would you like to grow?" Just watch their gears start turning, and see what ya'll can do together this year that will last for years to come. They are the future of our food supply! Give them the tools to grow into the creative, doers of tomorrow. Then when the harvest comes in, load up the tuck and take 'em to the local Farmer's Market to reap what they've sown. I want to encourage you to, let 'em get dirty and "Get out and grow together!" 
Can I eat this one? Pleeeease!

To nursery rhyme tune, "This is the way
we sow the seeds, sow the seeds, sow
the seeds."
Look what's for dinner!
6 yr old Seed Saver
What kind of chrysalis is this?
We ended up with about two hundred
African Horned Jelly Melon. They are
very, very thorny.

Growing "them"