By Sara Baker, Contributing Writer
There has been a big (and well-deserved) push lately to buy, eat and give locally. Having a heart for local food, issues, and business is tremendously important. We can do so much for our local communities, and benefit from them ourselves! But where do our children fit in to all of this?
They should be right there beside us!
How else will they learn what questions to ask their farmer, how to preserve the harvest, that picking up local spring water and raw milk is a normal lifestyle? They won’t learn it from anyone but us.
Learning From Parents
In the home I grew up in, driving 30 minutes to get spring water once every week or so was completely normal. In fact, I didn’t realize that a lot of what my parents did was “against the grain” until I married my husband (who was raised in the standard American home). When he questioned why in the world we would go to so much trouble (even though it really wasn’t) to get water when we could just turn on the tap to fill a glass, and other questions of that nature, I began to realize how different we were.
I say this because living locally and naturally as possible wasn’t strange to me as a kid. We went with my parents when they got spring water. We helped dry off the 5 gallon jugs and screw lids on. We took drinks of the fresh spring water straight from the source. I saw how excited my Dad was to find local eggs or honey. My parents took us with them to pick up food co-op boxes and bags…we would even help unload the truck! It was a family affair, and to us, it was normal…most times even fun!
This is what we should aim for in our children. Eating and buying locally should be normal for them not because they were taught, but because they were included.
How to Include Your Children
Include your children, even in activities that seem insignificant to you. Small children can tag along for food or dairy pick-ups or go to the farmer’s market, help wash produce, and clean jars for jam. Also, talk with your young children! Do not withhold because you think they will not understand! While working, explain where the food came from and why you are thankful for hardworking hands to grow it for you. Children understand so much more than we give them credit for, and the least they will take out of the conversation is your gratitude for good food.
Older children can do all of these, too, and more. They can make phone calls for you, place orders, and help you manage the kitchen. An older child can even go so far as to help out a farmer for a day, or a short time (if your farmer is so inclined). You may benefit from a little produce or dairy…but what your child learns will be with them for a lifetime. Eating and buying locally is about more than the health benefits, and now is the perfect time to teach them that.
Why go through the trouble of lugging your kids with you to the farmer’s market when they can just stay home with Daddy? Why bother taking them to the spring when you can go in peace and quiet?
Because eating and buying locally is a lifestyle…and lifestyle is a family affair. The world will teach them that buying a pizza from the chain-hut down the road is fine and dandy for any meal we please, and it is up to us to teach them otherwise.
How do you raise locally-minded kids?
**This post has been entered at Homemaking Link-Up, Encourage One Another Wednesday, Wise Woman Link Up, Welcome Home Wednesday, Whole Foods Wednesday, What We Wore, Read, and Made, What I Learned Wednesday and Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways #73.**
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