Montessori encourages a connection with and respect for nature. While you won’t find me pitching a tent in the wilderness anytime soon, we did spend a good amount of our spring break connecting with nature by focusing on where our food comes from.
When my daughter was two she was sitting at the park having one of those Horizon milk boxes as a snack. My friend asked her, “Where does milk come from?” while pointing to the delightful little cow on the front. My daughter thought for a moment and exclaimed, “Target!”. Whomp, whomp. Obviously we don’t live on a farm! We live in a large urban area and it is all too easy to not follow the path of our food supply beyond the supermarket.
This last week was the kids’ spring break and we decided to take advantage of some opportunities to get out and learn some more about our food. We took one morning to head out of the city to a farm not too far away to pick strawberries. The kids did a great job of listening to the criteria of what makes a strawberry ready to pick: All red with no mold or holes. The kids took their buckets and headed out to the field. They are great pickers!
We then used the fruits of our labor, pun intended, to make strawberry shortcake for a party. The kids were responsible for washing the strawberries and taking care to clean all the dirt and sand off without squishing the berry.
Later in the week we headed to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. This yearly event is fun for all ages and has a lot to offer. We spent most of our time in the Agriculture section learning about everything from the stages of chickens from egg to hen/rooster to beekeeping to milking a cow to growing corn. We even got to witness the live birth of a piglet. Those mama pigs are amazing! She was nursing four piglets while in active labor with four more. We really learned a lot. Although my kids are fully city kids, it is nice for them to also know that things like FFA and 4H exist and they enjoyed watching the big kids show their cows to the judges during one of the livestock competitions.
We also are now a part of a farm share. We bought a produce share and added organic eggs and grass-fed organic beef. It has been great for our family. We now have a great connection between our produce and the farm from where it was grown. The kids love to “shop” the share collection site. They take the bags and go to each bin to select our produce. This leads to many great questions, most being: “What’s that?” I am excited to continue to get new and interesting vegetables that they (and I!) haven’t tried before. They may not like beets too much, but at least they have tried them. We shall see tonight if Kholrabi is something more their speed. 🙂 We do garden, but in previous years the kids have not had too much of a role. Our plan is to change that this spring so I will keep you posted on our progress in that area!
I know my kids may not (yet) be experts on where food comes from, but I am happy that we took some time to get out of the grocery store and really make some quality connections. Where do go or what do you do to connect you and your children to food?