10 Ways for Kids to Go Local
“Eat your veggies!” “Clean your plate!” “You don’t know what’s good for you!” When it comes to eating healthy foods, these might be some parents' daily mantras. At the peak of the local food season, there’s no better time to engage your kids in enjoying good food.
Encouraging kids to get excited about local foods is a great way to increase their appetite for nutritious foods like tomatoes, broccoli, eggs and carrots as well as healthy grains, dairy and meats.
Check out these 10 tips for getting children interested in local foods from spring and summer to harvest:
- Take your family on a farm tour. Encourage your kids to take pictures and make a photo book or poster about the farm to share with friends and classmates during show-and-tell or a similar time.
- Let your kids play with their food. Make an art project out of local foods, such as seed art or veggie sculptures.
- Planting a back yard garden or container garden? Don’t just share in the duties. Designate one row or one type of vegetable or fruit that is your child's to plant, weed and harvest throughout the season.
- Encourage your child to pick out an item at the farmers market or co-op; then prepare a meal with them using their chosen local food.
- Make freezer jam out of their favorite berries. By making freezer jam, kids can learn about food preservation and enjoy their favorite fruit into the fall season. There’s always room for jam!
- Declare your food independence! On July 4, make homemade ice cream featuring locally-sourced milk, cream, fruit and nuts.
- Throw a local food pizza party.Devote a Saturday afternoon to baking a pizza with as many local foods as possible. Let your kids roll the dough while you chop and shred local ingredients that they can sprinkle on top.
- Sip cider and jump in the hay at the local orchard. Pick apples with your kids and talk about the year-long work it takes to produce an array of apples.
- Pick the perfect pumpkin for Halloween. Take your kids to a local pumpkin patch to enjoy the festivities. Then, bring home an extra pumpkin and make a holiday pie, and don’t forget to roast the seeds.
- Prepare a meal based on your heritage. Were your grandparents farmers? Prepare a meal based on the food they once grew. Is your ancestry Italian? German? West African? Make a meal based on their native foods with as many local ingredients as possible. Share stories about your family over the dinner table.
Food co-ops nationwide help nurture local food appreciation for people of all ages. Learn more about how how co-ops celebrate local food.