Learning through veggies
No this is not a discussion about how many veggies you ate today. This goes deeper.
How often do you think about how your food made it onto your plate. I mean really think about how it got there – more than who cooked it or where you bought it? For most of us, it’s not likely that often, if at all.
The bin of veggies
For the past two years my family has belonged to a Community Support Agriculture (CSA) garden grown by The Bergmann’s. We pay a one-time pre-season fee (buy a share in the garden) and in return we receive a weekly bin of veggies. What you get is determined by what your farmer decides to grow and how much Mother Nature decides to meddle.
Initially we joined because I didn’t want to make time to have a garden and we still wanted fresh seasonal vegetables. What I know now is that we joined because it was time to learn more about who and how our food is grown.
This week was our last veggie bin of the season. It was the last bin but it was the day we had our most important lesson.
It’s veggie confession time
I waited until after school to unpack our last bin with the boys. They love to eat and help in the kitchen but mostly they love to see Will on delivery days and unpack the bin.
They bounced down the front steps over to the bin, ripped off the lid, started pulling things out then looked up and said “That’s it?”
The boys said what I had thought a few times this season and my heart sunk. That’s when I realized, yes, that’s it! It was no longer a question. It was a light-bulb, exclamation, ah-ha moment. This, this was the teaching moment of the summer.
How dare we be so critical of our food. We were never hungry and what was provided was delicious, nourishing and made many excellent meals that we enjoyed together.
I paused. I sat down. They sat down. We sat there on the front patio and we talked.
My heart filled as I thought about our farm family. They poured their heart, blood, sweat and tears into our veggie bin. They gave us the best they had, they gave us as much as they possibly could, they worked extra hard this season and reseeded various times and I know that they truly care. But how do you teach that to a kid?
We talked about it. We talked about the part of food we rarely see. The growing part.
- Were we ever hungry this summer because we didn’t have enough food?
“No” they both said as though I was crazy
- Why do you think we have a bit less in our bin this year? What fell from the sky every couple of days?
“Rain. The plants had too much water.” said one.
“Plants don’t like too much water.” said the other.
- How do you think Will and his family felt when the plants started getting sick?
“I bet they were sad. I bet they wished they could have made them better.” said my one kid as he slumped a little.
- How do you think it felt when you had to go get the veggies from the garden and there wasn’t as much as you had planned would grow?
“That would suck” said my feisty one.
“Yes, yes it would” I said.
- We talked about how Mother Nature always plays the last card. A farmer can do everything right and Mother Nature can trump it all.
- We talked about how farmers work really hard to grow top quality food and sometimes it doesn’t quite go as planned and it’s sad. It’s ok for us to be sad for them, with them. It’s also important for us to continue to support them.
- We agreed that growing food is hard work and we are thankful for farmers. Thankful for farmers that are willing to go all-in year after year after year.
To my farmer and farm family:
I’m sorry. I’m sorry I didn’t do a better job of checking in during the season, that I didn’t ask more questions and that I didn’t stand up for you sooner. I’m sorry I ever thought “That’s it?”
Because – That’s It! That’s a wrap on another season of veggies that made it to our plates, that had us experimenting in the kitchen, that had us learning about new ingredients, that had us being mindful about food waste and had us excited about delicious Canadian grown food. We Thank You!
Because – That’s It! That’s another season of helping teach another generation to appreciate food, to understand that it doesn’t “grow” in the grocery store and that someone, a real person, took the time to become an expert in growing food. I Thank You!
Because – That’s It! That’s another season laced with lessons for both of us and when we learn together, we grow together!
The kid said it best this week and said it just like a farmer:
“Well mom, there’s always next year! I bet next year will be great!”
Although from this mom who’s trying to raise a #FarmToFoodFamily – I say:
This Year WAS Great!