On a recent Farm Fresh Friday delivery, I was surprised and saddened at the look of confusion many of the young children had on their faces. In the bags of this particular distribution were squash, raspberries and cherry tomatoes. As I looked through a bag with one little girl, I asked her what was wrong. “What is all this? I’ve never seen these before,” she said with confusion.
In that moment I was grateful for people in our community who have helped us take our mission to fight hunger, one step further as we teach children about the food we eat. So often, many of the families we serve purchase foods with a shelf life, rather than food that truly nourishes life. As a result, children are almost barred from having any exposure to the fruits and vegetables that so often set our own tables.
As part of our expansion to provide more fruits and vegetables to children, we invite classrooms out to our own farm, to see how food is grown and where it is grown. Their bewilderment is soon replaced with excitement as they hold up carrots they helped to harvest. “I can’t wait to eat this!” “I can’t wait to share this with my grandma!” These are the statements our children should be making as they reach deep into bags of fruits and vegetables you have helped to provide.
Farm Fresh Friday is a weekly distribution made to area programs on Friday’s. Each bag contains fresh produce for the weekend and will often include a recipe a family adult can use to prepare a nourishing meal. As partners distribute bags to children, they remind them of the many fun and healthy ways they eat their vegetables. Many children arrive home prepared to instruct their families on a delicious recipe.
In addition to our Farm Fresh Friday distributions, the Food Bank provides gardening and nutrition classes to area children to engage them in the fun of eating healthy. Gardening classes teach them about the life of a vegetable and how they can grow a garden in their own backyard or porch.