By Rebecca Crownover, partner at Lone Star Family Farms and founder of Texas Farm Girl
Having a connection with our food has become a top priority for our families. We want to have a connection with our food and know more about what we are putting on our dinner tables. So many children today think that their food comes from the grocery stores. That’s a mentality that we can easily change in our own families, by educating ourselves and then educating our children by making them a part of the process. Take a look at these 7 ways that you can engage your family in the conversation and education about our food to create that connection.
1. Read the Label
Get familiar with the labels on your packaged food. Look beyond the calories and the fat grams on the nutrition label. Take a look at the ingredients listed on the package and become familiar with what is in your food. If you don’t know what an ingredient is, look it up on the Internet and become familiar with it. The more familiar you and your family are with the ingredients and what they are on the package, the better decisions you will make as a family for your table.
2. In the Kitchen
Cook together as a family. Find a great recipe that everyone would enjoy and prepare the recipe together. When everyone plays a part in the meal, there is appreciation and sense of pride with the result.
3. Grow Your Own Food
If you don’t have an area for a garden or do not have time to work a garden, grow one vegetable or some herbs in pots on your patio. You don’t have to grow everything you use in your kitchen. Start small. You’ll gain more of an appreciation for the process of growing food by just trying a couple of small things you can use in your kitchen.
4. Find a Farmer’s Market
Locate the closest farmer’s market to your community, then venture out to see what it has to offer. Compare the types and freshness of produce you find to what you find in the grocery store. Don’t be afraid to ask the farmers questions about their farming practices and how they grow their produce. Having the conversation with the farmer can give you peace of mind about where the food you purchase came from.
5. Visit a Local Farm
Many farmers give tours of their farms if you just ask. Find a farmer closest to you or find one at a farmer’s market that you can contact. Having a visual of what a farmer does to produce the food on your table gives a bigger perspective to the food you eat. It also helps connect the dots from farm to table.
6. At the Grocery Store
When grocery shopping, make your family a part of it by having them help look for items on the grocery list. Kids love to go on a hunt to see if they can find certain things. Making it a game can be fun. Later, when you show them what the ingredients they found at the store are used for in the kitchen, they are able to make a connection with their food and understand what goes into the preparation of it.
7. In a Restaurant
When you are eating in a restaurant, don’t be afraid to ask the waiter about where they get their food. If you are ordering fish, ask if it is wild fish or farm-raised fish. Ask if they get their produce locally from a farmer, farmer’s market or through a food distributor. It never hurts to ask the waiter about this information! Farm to table restaurants are popping up all over the place that make this type of information available to the consumer. Try one out sometime and learn about the farms they get their ingredients from when you dine at one.
About the Author:
Working with her grandfather not only taught Rebecca Crownover about the hard work behind farming, but also taught her about overcoming obstacles in life. Tragedy struck her family in 2009 when her husband, a native Texan and farmer, passed away in an ATV accident. His passing inspired Rebecca’s award-winning children’s book, My Daddy Is In Heaven With Jesus. Rebecca founded Texas Farm Girl, a brand that helps ignite a passion for agriculture in farming’s next generation, while teaching life lessons that she herself learned growing up on her PawPaw’s farm. Rebecca remains a business partner at Lone Star Family Farms with her in-laws to carry on her husband’s legacy and to continue her contribution to the farming business, an industry that has always been an important part of her life. Be sure to check out Rebecca’s web site.