Now more than ever, it’s vital for little ones to learn where their food comes from and help them connect with the natural world.
With rising food costs, the impact of global pandemic, a climate crisis on the horizon and a world increasingly out of touch with nature, it’s essential that we bring up future generations with more of an appreciation for our countryside and all that it provides.
Here are some of the reasons why a connection to nature and knowledge of food production is important, and how you can create this awareness from a young age…
Discovering the origins of their food
Step into any classroom and ask a group of seven-year-olds where their food comes from; maybe they will vaguely say that milk comes from cows, or that their dinner comes from the supermarket. But how many will have a realistic understanding of where the food on their dinner plates comes from?
Being farmers ourselves, we know first-hand the immense amount of time and hard work that goes into producing your breakfast, lunch and dinner. Without this awareness, it can mean children do not have this appreciation of ‘farm to fork’ and the people who grow and rear their food.
Studying the food chain and all it entails delivers a deeper value for children – it is a revelation that the whole world is connected, from the first raindrop that falls in the hills to your local butcher.
It is also a lesson in equality – at the end of the day, we all rely on the same soil, rainfall, sunshine and creepy crawlies to survive!
Respect for the natural world
A greater appreciation of the natural world and all it produces is essential given the current climate crisis we are facing.
Children who grow up valuing our natural resources will naturally be more inclined to take care of it in future, and even help pave the way towards a more environmentally-friendly way of life. Just think of young climate champions like Greta Thunberg and Nyombi Morris!
Connecting with where your food and drink come from naturally encourages children to be more aware of the nutrients and benefits that come with eating healthy, fresh produce. Think about picking strawberries fresh off the plant, or growing carrots in the garden – it’s a well-known fact that kids are more likely to eat their veggies if they’ve played a part in growing them!
Being out and about in nature is good for us in other ways too – not only does a walk in the countryside improve your cardiovascular health, it also does wonders for our mental wellbeing too, and that’s no different for children.
How to foster a countryside connection
Everyone has a role to play in re-introducing nature to the children in their lives, and it doesn’t need to be complicated!
Craigies Farm works alongside the Royal Highland Education Trust to welcome school classroom visits to the farm. The pupils are treated to a tour of the farm to find out what goes on day-to-day, gaining a practical insight into food production and farming.
Grow your own food
If you have a garden at home, there’s nothing stopping you growing your own veg! A raised bed planter can be a great choice for first timers.
If you don’t have outside space, even just some seeds planted in a window box can get kids involved from growing something from seed to plate! Try herbs or microgreens as they thrive indoors.
Visit working farms
A day out can be fun and educational! For example, a day out picking fruit and vegetables at Craigies Farm lets kids get their hands dirty and connect with their food right at the source. It’s a family favourite for a reason! Jam making classes are also on offer, taking kids from picking the fruit right through to making their own jam from the berries picked!
Little Farmers is also a brilliant way to engage children with rural life – they can get nose-to-snout with farm animals and find out all about them and how they play an essential role in our food chain.
If you’re now feeling inspired to get the little ones out and about in nature to learn where their food comes from, Craigies Farm & Little Farmers are the best places to be!
Click here to book into Little Farmers, or head here to find out more about Craigies Pick Your Own experience. Remember, you can also shop Craigies farm-fresh produce online, too!