The July-August vacation is always a good period to teach your children new skills or refresh them in some of the life skills that are much needed to create a well-rounded individual.
One of the key skills that is very important in today’s society is understanding Agriculture, Food and Nutrition. Agriculture is the practice of farming, and food and nutrition are the way that we get fuel from food which provides energy for our bodies.
Teaching our children how to grow their own food and select and consume healthy food are topics that should be taken seriously. Research shows that when children grow some of their own food, they develop what we call ‘food empathy’, a deeper connection with food, which is proven to lead to a healthier life.
Food empathetic children have better diets, eat more fruit and vegetables, and have a better understanding of food and nutrition.
As parents or guardians, here are three valuable activities that you can embark on this vacation with your children to sensitise them on these topics:
- Start a container vegetable garden – Container gardening is simply growing plants in any container. It is ideal for those with no or little garden space. Obtain a suitable container, punch holes at the bottom for drainage, fill with a rich soil mix and plant your desired crop. The taller the plant grows, the bigger the container it will require. This is a good start for children as it can be kept manageable until a larger garden can be maintained.
- Take a short course in agriculture – There are many vacation programmes that educate children on various agriculturally related topics. The FSIP (Food Security in Parishes) programme also offers the courses to children from 14 years old who wish to join and learn about both beginner, intermediate and advanced topics. It is also an excellent programme to start alongside your child if you are new to gardening as well.
- Take your child to the markets – It is very important to teach your child how to shop in a marketplace. A farmer’s market is a good place to start. Teach your child what good produce looks like, how to determine if a vegetable or fruit is ready for consuming, how to store produce, and even how to budget money while in the market. There are endless benefits to this activity especially if you have a child who is a picky eater. If he or she is more involved in making their food choices they’re more likely to eat a diverse range of foods. In addition, having them assist in preparing their meals will encourage creativity while educating them on proper nutrition.
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