Not a lot happened for once this weekend. We had plenty of rain and by Saturday during a light drizzle a few of us decided to sit outside and let the rain fall while we had a picnic lunch, Crazy? Yes, probably, but we didn’t melt. We each brought something different out to share and my fresh cherry and blueberry crumble went over well. It’s funny because none of my neighbors are vegetarian yet they never asked what went into the crumble only saying it was the best they had tasted in a long time.
One of the neighbors brought up how wonderful it was to taste my strawberries this year as he only ever buys his from the store. I think this is sad. He suffers from many health issues and would benefit greatly, I believe, from a healthier diet and foods he enjoys as much as he did the strawberries and the crumble. It got me thinking about the children who have never known fresh food.
When children are exposed to gardens and fresh foods they will try many foods out of curiosity that they wouldn’t other wise try.
But not only will they try whole foods by seeing them grown, they will prefer those tastes to store-bought and fast food choices. What you may not expect is to see such joy as some will show when they realize a favorite food is now ready to pick and eat. My granddaughter’s favorite lettuce is romaine. Here’s what we caught when she spotted I had bought romaine lettuce at the farmer’s market.
Of course if you love something this much there is no stopping a snack, bowls aren’t needed.
But with craving and choosing healthier options comes a deep appreciation for the natural world. We can’t harm a bug, and she got quite laugh when a bee landed on her toe for a few seconds. Her response was “it’s okay he’s just looking for nectar” How many children at age 4 would know what a bee was looking for if not exposed to gardens and explained the need for the insects and worms found there?
With all the rain we have had slugs have been found every where, she makes sure to pick them up out of the parking lot and take them to “join their family”, her term for placing them in the grassy area where other slugs are at. She does know I would rather they aren’t in my garden and will carefully remove them and carry, yes even slugs, to another area of the field. Worms are carried to the flower or vegetable beds.
Not everyone will have a huge field like I do to let children play in the dirt and plant their own gardens, but even a container with a couple of edible plants they can watch mature and eat from will start them on the path to better eating and respect for nature. It’s a gift that can change their lives. You may find them enjoying this more than TV or video games.
I still feel badly for my neighbor who is in his mid 40s and never had fresh grown food before I shared a bowl of strawberries with him this summer.
What crosses your mind when you encounter a child, or adult, who has never tasted fresh homegrown foods?