Five Ways To Teach Your Child About Farming
1. Paying a visit to a local farm will not only be a fun day out for young children, but an educational one too. Children who live in rural areas should find they have their pick of local growers whilst city-dwelling families can track down their nearest pastoral oasis at www.farmgarden.org.uk, the Federation of City Farms & Community Gardens’ website. As well as getting up close to plenty of adorable animals, a visit to a farm provides an opportunity for children to learn about the farming process and the importance of the agriculture industry.
2. Many children find it difficult to reconcile the idea that the food on their plate comes from the ground or a tree. Nurture your child’s green fingers by dedicating an area of your garden (or a windowsill) to growing plants and herbs. Let your child select what she wants to grow and create a simple chart, following the progress of her blooms. The process of nurturing a living thing and self sufficiently growing food can be immensely satisfying for young children who may not be used to taking on such responsibility. This will also deepen your child’s understanding of seasonality, local produce and how food makes the journey from the ground to the dinner table.
3. There are plenty of lovely children’s books about farming for a variety of age groups and levels of understanding. Nancy Dickman’s World Of Farming series explores every aspect of agriculture with attractive photography and simple text, easily understandable for very young children. Mary McKenna Siddal’s Compost Stew is an irreverent rhyming tale about the perfect recipe for nurturing the earth while Double Delights Farm by Mary Novick is a lift-the-flap book teaching children about the animals and people you might encounter on a farm.
4. The Farming And Countryside Education website is an excellent resource for agricultural information for users of all ages. The site’s content strikes the right balance between entertaining and educational, including interactive drawing games, virtual farm tours, live animal webcam feeds, podcasts and digital stories from contemporary young English farmers.
5. Farmers' markets are not just an opportunity to nibble free samples and buy expensive artisan cheese, try chatting to the people behind the stalls and discover the provenance of their produce. Encourage your child to ask questions about how the foods at your local market are made. Farmers are often very happy to explain their methods and teach a new generation about where food comes from and what makes Britain's farming industry so important.
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