Do your kids know how the fruit and veg that end up on their plates is grown?
Do your kids know how the fruit and veg that end up on their plates is grown? Seiya Kawamoto

Do your kids know how bananas grow?

EVERYONE likes to think they're giving their kids the education they need to tackle the real world. But are we forgetting to educate them about one of the most important things?

Food sustains us. Three times a day we sit down and enjoy it in different forms.

I remember a few years ago watching an episode of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution and was floored. Children in the first grade failed to identify a single vegetable that the celebrity chef showed them. Could kids really be so ignorant about the food they eat every day?

At the same time, I remained a little smug. This video was shot in America, surely kids in Australia would do better. Then I saw a study released in partnership with Woolworths and Jamie Oliver that made me think again.

The study took 1600 Australian kids aged between six and 17 and tested them on their basic knowledge of fruit and vegies. Of the 1600, an incredible 92% did not know that bananas grew on plants, 60% had no idea that herbs such as mint grew in the ground, and 70% weren't able to say where sugar actually came from.

My family and I have just become a Friend of Ag, a new initiative being run by AgForce Queensland. The aim of the program is to make people living in cities more aware of the immense positive impact that farmers have on their lives.

So I wanted to give a few tips and ideas for parents worried that their children weren't getting the grassroots education they needed about food and where it came from.

 

EAT VARIETY: One of the best ways to make kids knowledgeable about the rainbow of fruits and vegetables that we have available in Australia is to eat that rainbow. Variety is the spice of life, and adding lots of different produce options into your diet is a great way to increase your child's knowledge.

 

ENCOURAGE PARTICIPATION: Kids in the kitchen might seem like a disaster waiting to happen, but it's a really great way to improve their knowledge of food.

 

GROW A LITTLE, IF YOU CAN: If you've got a garden space or even a few little pots, growing some produce is a fun way that kids can be educated about and involved in the food they eat. With a vegetable garden, they can see how produce grows, how to harvest it, and how to take care of it.

 

DON'T SHY AWAY: Parents often feel uncomfortable telling children the meat on their plate is the same meat that Peppa Pig is made from. However, avoiding this topic only makes it harder for them when the time comes for this news to be heard. Let your kids ask all the questions they want about their meat.

Jody Allen is the founder of Stay At Home Mum: stayathomemum.com.au.


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