In the 1980’s, Mike Yurosek found a creative way to upcycle unwanted carrots. Thirty years later, the convenience of miniature, manufactured carrots makes them parents’ most bought, vegetable snack.
But many children may not have a clue that their healthy snacks’ name is a bit misleading.They may never see or know what a real, immature “baby” carrot is.
It’s not necessarily the lack of knowledge pertaining to baby carrots, it’s their lack of basic food sensibility, that is worrisome. Over the past decade, surveys have been done on children and young adults all over the country, to measure their understanding of nutrition.
Their responses to food origin and nutritional questions are shocking.
A study done by California researchers surveyed fourth through sixth graders and found that:
Over half of them didn’t know onions and lettuce were plants
Four out of ten didn’t know that hamburgers came from cows
Three out of ten didn’t know cheese came from milk
Children are now three generations removed from traditional agricultural
While many education platforms have failed in agricultural literacy, lack of exposure may play a higher role. Children’s lack of food knowledge can be explained if we take into consideration their lack of exposure:
Especially in Urban areas, children are raised hundreds of miles away from where their food is produced and processed
They see going to the grocery store as the main source of the food, but haven’t had the exposure to understand where the food was beyond that point
Knowing where food comes from will make it easier for kids to make healthy food decisions now and in the future.
It’s essential for children to have knowledge about where their food comes from, so they are able to make informed decisions about healthy food throughout their lives.
Not only does knowledge of where our food comes from provide health benefits, it can teach life long lessons.
A growth mindset can be developed through growing vegetables. Starting with an interactive lesson, like growing beans, teaches children about delayed gratification. They will have to diligently water and care for their plant to see results. It will allow them to emphasise growth over speed, a lesson they can apply throughout life.
Remember, exposure is key.
There are plenty of opportunities to help children grow awareness and skill sets relating to food within our community. Wyoming Food for Thought provides child-friendly education and resource information at our program site. We also offer kids activities at the weekly farmers market and our urban garden. These programs allow hands-on learning and depth opportunity for children.
Do your kids know where their food comes from?