This year, I will be celebrating earth day a few days early with a classroom full of preschoolers, some kale, garbanzo beans, and a food processor. We’ll be making kale chips and hummus, and learning knife skills while cutting up carrots and celery. We’ll also be talking about food, the earth and how our eating choices impact the environment. How does one tackle such a big problem with such “little people”? The answer: Simply.
Here’s three simple ways to show our kids how to make environmentally friendly food choices:
(1) Eat Organic – Organic foods support healthy people and a healthy planet. Don’t just picture the healthy foods going into your body, picture the workers who are safe from toxic pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, as well as the land, water, and air that are protected and wildlife that thrives.
(2) Eat Local – Food travels an average of 1500 miles to reach your table, about as far as Manhattan to Missouri. Eating seasonal, locally sourced foods cuts back on emissions and food miles. The best way to eat locally grown foods is to grow your own garden and support local farmer’s markets and CSAs (community supported agriculture).
(3) Eat Real – Michael Pollan’s food rule # 7: “Avoid food products containing ingredients that a third grader cannot pronounce”. Shop the outer perimeters of the store, especially the produce aisle. An apple is as real as it gets. The less processed a food is, the fewer resources spent manufacturing, packaging and transporting that food to grocery stores.
Resources for parents:
www.localharvest.org – directory of CSAs and local farmer’s markets
www.ewg.org/foodnews/- shopper’s guide to pesticides in produce, including the clean fifteen and dirty dozen