To do: By asking around or researching online, figure out where your local crops go once they are harvested.
Time: 1 hour
Materials: A farmer willing to have a conversation
Food production around the world starts with planning, then planting, tending, and finally, harvest. But the harvest is just the beginning of an exciting journey to our tables or through the remainder of the food production cycle.
Farm to table might be a buzz word you hear at your local co-op, but what it means basically is eating food that is grown or produced near you, rather then eating something that was grown half-way across the planet.
Of course, it depends on your family traditions, preferences, and location whether or not you try to buy local produce, but either way, learning about the life cycle of a crop can be a very important lesson for your child! Make it an adventure, and enjoy yourself along the way.
This wonderful video from National Geographic can help you prepare to talk with your child about how the harvest brings food to our table.
Activity: Field to Table
For today’s activity, have your child pick a crop or you choose one with them that you want to follow from field to table. Then:
- Find out where it’s grown and how long it takes to grow from a seed to a harvest time.
- Trace how it’s harvested – what kind of equipment is used to bring the crop from the field?
- Follow that crop from the harvest, pointing out to your child how the crop is sorted, processed, delivered, and how it ends up in our grocery stores or Farmer’s Markets. And finally, on our tables!
Try keeping track of your research in a journal, and for pre-readers, draw representations of your findings as a flow chart of pictures!
For the older child, help them draw a diagram of the plant-cultivate-harvest-production-table cycle. Use one fruit or vegetable to keep it simple and ask them prompting questions (“What comes next?) to help them understand how food gets from a seed to us.
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