I recently came across an astounding article in The Washington Post, entitled “The surprising number of American adults who think chocolate milk comes from brown cows.” Author Caitlin Dewey uses surveys and studies to make the case that the American public’s food literacy is at an all-time low. From elementary-school aged children to adults, the U.S. citizenry is unaware of the agricultural and commercial processes that occur as sustenance is transported from fields to factories to food marts.
“Project Lunchbox: Let’s Eat!” aims to debunk food myths, inspire informed food choices, and instill in families the belief that they are capable of igniting change within the global food system: through their united voices and their collective wallets.
To that end, here are five action steps to implement in your household to ensure that your family is food literate:
- Take your kids with you to the grocery store. As you’re placing items into the cart, explain to your children that although food is purchased at the grocery store, it doesn’t come from grocery store.
- Plan a family visit to a local farm…’tis the season for apple and pumpkin picking! I’ve discovered that many farms offering CSA shares also provide free agriculture and food programming for kids.
- Bring the farm to table concept to life by planting a family garden. Yes, even in the season of autumn, there are steps you can take to ensure a bountiful harvest next spring. Did you know that planting garlic during the autumn months ensures a plentiful growing season the following summer? Food for thought…
- Cook with your child. As you prepare a recipe, explain to your child the difference between a whole food and a processed food. Then ask your child to tell you whether each ingredient is either a whole food or a processed food.
- If your child is old enough, read books about the food industry together. Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma: Young Readers Edition provides an age-appropriate overview of the global food system, and the differences between how whole foods and processed foods come to be.
Do you agree that food literacy is at an all-time low in America? What steps have you taken to ensure that your family is food literate?
Until Next Week…Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,
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