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As parents, we all want our kids to eat healthy, nutritious food.

But how can we encourage them to choose fresh veggies over processed snacks?

One powerful way is to help them understand where their food comes from.

Here are the top five reasons why this knowledge can make a big difference in your child’s eating habits and overall well-being.

1. Increased Appreciation and Excitement for Food

It’s no secret that getting kids to eat their veggies can be a challenge. However, when children understand where their food comes from, they’re more likely to eat it. Somehow being a part of how their food grows creates a deep appreciation for it.

This excitement can translate into a willingness to try new things. They might get excited about eating the carrots they pulled from the ground or the tomatoes they picked from the vine. I’ve noticed this in my own family and among other CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and market families. It’s a joy to see kids munching on fresh produce because they know its story. For example, Chloe (5), Nora(5), and Evert (2) have been crazy about pulling and eating a carrot snack at Oak Spring this year. They are incredibly enthusiastic vegetable eaters.

2. Developing Healthy Eating Habits

Kids who know where their food comes from are more likely to develop healthy eating habits that last a lifetime. They learn to appreciate fresh, whole foods and recognize the taste difference. This awareness can reduce their preference for processed foods and sugary snacks, steering them towards healthier choices. And don’t we all want to make healthy choices?

Bridget, a long-time CSA member told me years ago her 2 boys learned quickly to ask where the produce was from and would sit down enthusiastically to eat when she told them it was ‘from the farm’.

3. Educational Opportunities

Understanding the journey from farm to table offers endless educational opportunities. Kids can learn about agriculture, biology, and environmental science in a hands-on way. Visiting farms or participating in CSA programs sparks curiosity about what they’re eating. It’s not just about eating; it’s about engaging with the world around them.

For example, Heather, a long-time CSA member, often shares stories of how her kids have learned about different plant species and growing seasons through their weekly CSA share and visits to the farm. Her oldest, Joshua, wants to be a farmer when he grows up!

4. Fostering a Connection to Nature

Knowing where their food comes from helps kids develop a deeper connection to nature. Whether you grow your own, shop at farmer’s markets, or belong to a CSA, they are one step closer to how plants grow and how animals are raised, fostering respect for the environment and its resources. This connection can lead to more environmentally conscious behaviors as they grow older. It’s a beautiful cycle: the more they understand nature, the more they want to protect it.

5. Building Community

When kids know their food comes from local farms, they also learn the importance of community and supporting local businesses. Visiting farmer’s markets, like the Hereford Farmer’s Market, and interacting with farmers is a fulfilling experience, for all ages. It teaches them the value of local agriculture and how their choices impact the community. I often chat with moms and dads at the market; many visit us on Saturday to supplement their CSA shares with more veggies, meat, cheese, eggs, bread and more. They also love the community vibe and familiar faces.

Personal Experience

I’ve always found that knowing the origin of my food makes eating more exciting and meaningful. This enthusiasm seems to resonate with other families involved in CSA and local markets. The joy of eating a meal made from ingredients you’ve seen grow or have a personal connection to is incomparable. It’s not just about nutrition; it’s about the stories, the journey, and the connections we build along the way.

Encouraging your kids to learn where their food comes from can have a profound impact on their health, education, and overall connection to the world. It’s a simple step with significant benefits, and it’s never too early to start.

And, imagine this, what if your children’s excitement and appreciation of eating whole, local nutritious foods will increase YOUR appreciation and excitement for good, wholesome food?

It’s a win-win.

A positive feedback loop.

A yellow brick road to a full life of health and happiness.

Yours in farming,

Lisa