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Engaging Tips for Teaching Kids About Food Systems

By Miranda Culvert

Kids love to get their hands dirty and explore, so why not play in the dirt, explore together and grow your kids' knowledge along with some healthy food.

1. Plant A Vegetable Garden

A small vegetable garden can teach principles that are often difficult for kids to learn these days. We're talking about the principle of delayed gratification. The anticipation and hands-on involvement will also increase the chance they will actually try the veggies they grow.

It helps if you choose vegetable plants that will thrive in Detroit. The more successful they are, the more they will be inspired to stick with the project. They’ll also learn the importance of birds, bees, and butterflies when it comes to pollinating their plants.

Get them their own kid-sized garden tools and assign them their own plot of land. This helps them take ownership of the project and teaches them responsibility.

2. Raise Chickens

More families are raising chickens in their own backyards. Feeding the chickens, cleaning the coops, and gathering eggs are all great lessons for kids. If you're ambitious, you can build your own coop, but complete kits are also available for purchase in various sizes and price ranges.

3. Plant an Indoor Herb Garden

An herb garden will grow well indoors, allowing your kids to continue growing food and learning in seasons when vegetable gardens may not be accessible. Try planting oregano, basil, and other herbs that you and your kids can use to make pizza. This will teach them that pizza doesn't always come from a delivery truck.

4. Ask the Experts

Kids love asking questions, so take them to tour a dairy farm. Neighborhood nurseries have gardeners who've been growing plants that will thrive in Detroit. Take advantage of their knowledge and experience. Visit orchards and pick your own fruit, or visit a community garden where your kids can not only see what is possible but also see other kids gardening.

Instead of telling your kids not to play with their food, teach them to have fun working for their food. Your kids will never look at the food on their plate the same way again.

Miranda Culvert has been gardening since she was three years old, thanks to her parents who owned a produce stand. She has passed her love of gardening onto her three children, one of whom has a booth at the local farmers market.

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