World Food Day is celebrated on 16th October every year, even in these unprecedented times. The aim is to raise awareness that everybody – food producers and consumers alike – have an important role to play to ensure nutritious food is available to everyone across the world.
As consumers we can influence what food is produced by making healthy, sustainable choices. To learn about how our daily choices can have a positive impact visit the United Nation’s World Food Day website.
For children, the first step in making the best choices is understanding where their food comes from. Advances in technology mean that with every generation we become further and further removed from the source of our food.
Here we share some enjoyable ways to teach your child how food gets from farm to fork.
Grow your own fruit and vegetables
Children love sowing seeds, looking after plants and eating what they have grown themselves.
To begin with choose food that is quick and easy to grow such as herbs see ‘How to make a herb garden’. Once interest is sparked your child could grow courgettes (these are very easy to grow), tomatoes, mange tout, green beans, butternut squash, strawberries and raspberries. Even in autumn and winter there is plenty to grow!
Involve your child in picking and preparing their fruit and vegetables. They could make a pizza from home grown tomatoes and basil, or pies and smoothies from strawberries and raspberries. Your child might eat some of their produce straight from the plant or in a salad.
Pick your own
This is an activity to save until late summer. Pick blackberries – remembering not to pick blackberries from near roadsides or near to the ground. Apart from blackberry crumbles and pies your child could make summer pudding, ice cream, jelly and sorbet or eat blackberries as they are. There are lots of recipes online.
Pick-your-own farms are a fun and cheap day out. You can pick strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, redcurrants and more – depending upon your closest farm. Type ‘nearest pick your own fruit’ into Google.
Read food books
There are some fantastic books that spark children’s interest in the connection between nature and food, and the importance of healthy eating. These are our favourites:
How Did That Get in My Lunchbox: The Story of Food by Chris Butterworth
Looking at all the food in a child’s lunchbox and how it got there. Where did the chocolate in the biscuit come from? Who made the bread for the sandwich? This book looks at the steps involved in producing some foods e.g. planting wheat and mixing flour into dough to make bread. There are also healthy eating tips and an introduction to food groups is included.
I don’t Like Salad! by Tony Ross
The Little Princess does not like salad, especially tomatoes. She changes her mind when she is given some tomato seeds to grow and sees the first shoots appear.
Pancakes, Pancakes! by Eric Carle
Jack wakes up very hungry – he wants a pancake! But first his mother needs flour from the mill, an egg from the hen, milk from the cow, butter churned from cream and firewood for the stove. Will Jack help his mother and get his pancake?
See Inside: Where Food Comes From by Emily Bone and Peter Allen
Children lift flaps to find out what food is produced in greenhouses, on farms and in the sea. There is a map with flaps showing where chocolate, tea and other things we enjoy come from. Children discover the importance of corn, rice and wheat around the world.
Encourage your child to look at the labels on the food they eat to see where is has come from. They could find places on a world map and use the internet to research the journey their food has had from source to plate.
Visit farm shops or markets with your child to find out what is seasonal and talk to them about what ‘seasonal’ and ‘sustainable’ mean. The World Food Day website is a great source of information.
Visit a Farm
Whether you visit a city farm or a farm in the country this is a great way to show your child where their food comes from. Some farms allow children to feed lambs, collect eggs, stroke sheep and even to see cows being milked and cheese being made.
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