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10 Things I Want To Teach My Daughter About The Importance of Shopping at the Farmer’s Market

Welcome to the August 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Farmer’s Markets
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about something new they’ve learned about their local farmers.
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Parenting is not just about helping your child discover who she is and what life’s boundaries look like. Parenting is also about helping your child learn how to live life with the resources available while also working to make the world a better place than it is now. Parents today HAVE to do this is there is going to be a planet for our children tomorrow.

Living naturally, holistically, and consciously is something I model for Tiny. She is very much a part of our green lifestyle and is understanding more and more what it means to live mindfully.

Part of living mindfully means sourcing our food carefully. While it is much easier to walk into the cheapest grocery store and do all of my shopping in one place, it is not as healthful or sustainable to do so. Therefore, I primarily shop at Farmer’s Markets, through local farms, and by being a part of a CSA (community supported agriculture).

 

Photo Credit

 
We are fortunate in that we have several year round Farmer’s Markets in our area along with a plethora of seasonal Farmer’s Markets. Throughout late spring, summer, and early fall, Tiny and I could literally go to a Farmer’s Market every day. This is fine by me! Tiny too. She loves the Farmer’s Market.

When Tiny was younger, the Farmer’s Market was simply an exciting place to get some fresh air, get her wiggles out, and immerse herself in the sights, smells, and tastes of everything surrounding her. While it still holds these same traits, the Farmer’s Market has become so much more. Tiny is beginning to understand exactly why it is important to shop at a Farmer’s Market and support our local farms.

When shopping at a Farmer’s Market, I help Tiny understand the reasons WHY we choose to spend our money in these venues and not grocery stores. While she is still only 3 and not completely capable of grasping the deep meaning of this all, she is becoming more and more aware that the Farmer’s Market means better health, tastier food, and support for our neighbors. 

Below are the 10 lessons I hope to impart to Tiny about WHY it is so important to spend our hard earned money at local Farmer’s Markets. (These are in no particular order as I see them as being equally important!)

Buying Locally Is Always The First Choice – It is important for me to help Tiny understand that buying locally allows us to support local agriculture which supports the region we live in. While she doesn’t quite understand the intricacies of this, eventually I want her to learn that this means that the food we are eating comes from nearby, and does not require us to waste lots of energy and petroleum to ship the food half-way around the world. Reducing the carbon footprint is vital to the continuance of our planet. Additionally and most important, we are eating foods grown in our own environment, where it has perfectly-created nutrients for our specific climate and region. This is a huge health plus!

Better Prices On Organic Fruits & Veggies – I wish that organic foods were more affordable, and slowly they are starting to become so. At a Farmer’s Market, we can find a variety of fresh, organic produce at more affordable prices than in a supermarket. There are also many farmers that carry products that are not technically “organic,” (as this is a costly and often beurocratic-heavy process), but have many low-priced foods that are pesticide and herbicide free. Less money spent on food, means more money for fun things like camping and trips to the ocean. (Just kidding – more money means paying off bills but that sounds so very boring!)

Eating Seasonally Is Optimal - By shopping at our local farmers market, we can eat seasonally, with fruits and vegetables being at the peak of freshness and ripeness. This is another great way to increase our overall health. Supermarkets offer too much variety and the food is picked before it has ripened decreasing the vitality. The body does not need to be eating imported pineapple and GMO corn! Helping Tiny understand that eating what is available when it is available will always give us a health boost!

Fresh is Best – The food from the farmers market is fresher, period. With few exceptions, produce is brought to market the same day or within a day of picking. This is virtually impossible in a big supermarket. Fresh products are crisp, have good texture, and taste better.

Unmatched Flavor – Fruits like peaches, and produce like strawberries and tomatoes are picked when ripe, not before. Ripened on the tree or vine adds significantly to flavor. Really, there is no doubt that locally-grown foods just simply taste better. Plus, you can often sample the fruits and veggies before buying to make sure you will really enjoy them. You can’t do that in a grocery store. Buy something you don’t like and it will probably go to waste. Less chance of that happening if you have taste tested it first. (And let’s face it – what child doesn’t love sampling food!)

Talking to the Farmer Is A Privilege and a Right– I love being able to ask the farmer (or farmer’s staff) questions about how their food was grown, pest control, what produce is coming down the pipeline, and what their favorite methods of preparation are for the produce being sold. This is really an advantage. I have found out that some of my favorite vendors are really organic but not yet certified. Their prices are a little lower because of this but I know the food is just as safe as certified organic. You won’t learn that unless you can ask the source!

Supporting Our Local Economy And Farmers Is Just What We Do – I want Tiny to understand that we are supporting human beings – in essence, our neighbors. I despise big box retailers, massive agribusiness, and GMO food conglomerates. I want them OUT! The best way to protest is by not supporting them. Our money goes to our neighbors who work hard to provide us with the nourishment our bodies need.

Trustworthy Foods – I’m not into scaring Tiny with horror stories about food borne illness but I certainly freak out more if she puts unwashed produce from the supermarket in her mouth than I do when she grabs a bite of something we just picked up at the Farmer’s Market. Food from a farmers market is generally safer. It’s not perfect but there is less chance of nasties!

Variety Is The Spice of Life – Farmers bring many different varieties of just about every product. Each farmer may have his own method for growing tomatoes or peppers. This is something that never happens at a grocery store. Variety provides a great healthy way to enrich one’s life and make eating fun!

It’s a Fun Way To Find Healthy Food – Preparing and eating food should be a labor of love. After all, this is the way in which we nourish our entire bodies and preserve our health. Rushing meals is no way to live life. When Tiny is included in the shopping, selecting the items she would like to eat, food becomes so much more than just “food.” It is a little piece of who she is. Plus it is so much fun to run amuck, visiting this stall and that stall seeing who is selling what!

What are your favorite reasons for shopping at the Farmer’s Market?

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon August 14 with all the carnival links.)

 

  • 10 Simple Ways to Make the Farmer’s Market More Fun for Kids — Lorie at Reading Confetti shares ideas and books to help kids get the most from the farmers market experience.
  • 10 Things I Want To Teach My Daughter About The Importance of Shopping at the Farmer’s Market — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares the ten lessons she hopes to impart to her daughter about the importance of shopping at local farmers markets.
  • Charmed by Two Small Town Markets — Shannon at GrowingSlower was charmed by two small-town farmers markets while on vacation.
  • The Olympia Farmer’s Market (and a giveaway!) — Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes and family took a trip to their state capitol to experience a new market. See what they saw, and enter to win a book written about that very market.
  • — Exploring the farmers market by Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy writing at Natural Parents Network — with a scavenger hunt!
  • Exploring the Market … Alphabet StyleThat Mama Gretchen is in the midst of creating a learning tool for her toddler and it’s all about the market!
  • Unschooling at the Farmers Market — Megz at Aspen Mama loves building memories as a vendor at the Market.
  • Montessori-Inspired Vegetable Unit — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares links to Montessori-inspired vegetable printables and activities to help your family get the most out of a trip to the farmer’s market.
  • Markets — How sustainable mum has fitted a monthly farmers market into a weekly food shop.
  • The Farmers Market In Under An Hour (“Carl Style”) — Andrea and family at Tales of Goodness adapt their farmers marketing approach to make everyone happy.
  • Tales Of a Troubled Gardener — Sam at Love Parenting writes about her dream of self-sufficiency and her lack of gardening skills!
  • A Few {Of The Many} Reasons Why I Love Our Farmer’s Market — Even though the experience can sometimes be less than peaceful, MomeeeZen shares why she enjoys taking her family to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings.
  • Experiencing the Farmer’s Market from a Different Perspective — Emily at S.A.H.M. i AM had a great time letting her toddler lead the way at the farmer’s market…
  • Ask A Farmer’s Daughter — Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter answers questions about her life growing up on a small family farm in New England.
  • Giving Up the Grocery Store — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling shares her family’s summertime challenge to eliminate trips to the grocery store and rely almost exclusively on local, farm-fresh foods.
  • Urban farming and fresh food in the city — Lauren at Hobo Mama takes trips to farms, gardens, and markets within reach of a big city.
  • Market Tip: Get to Know Your Farmers — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger finally gets up the guts to talk to her farmers and learns she is among ardent food lovers.
  • New Farmer’s Market Find — Kellie at Our Mindful Life is excited to make a new find at her new farmers market.
  • “The Real World” Grassroots Edition — jessica at instead of institution takes some time out to write a love note.
  • 9 Insider Tips for Farmer’s Market Newbies — Dionna at Code Name: Mama chatted with a few farmers to bring you some insider information on how to get the most out of your local farmer’s market.
  • The Place Where I Can Say “Yes!” — Erica at ChildOrganics gives you a tour of her favorite vendors at her local farmers market and discusses the benefits of creating community through the market.
  • Raw Local Milk — Jorje shares her family’s field trip to a local dairy. Learn what you can appreciate from a small town farm at Momma Jorje.com.
  • Italian Secret Vegetable Soup Recipe — Alinka at Baby Web convinces an Italian Farmer & Cook to reveal a precious minestrone recipe and shares it with her readers.
  • Where do our eggs come from? A visit to Sucellus Farms. — Carli at One Fit Mom takes her family to meet the chickens that have been providing their daily eggs.
  • Beyond the Farm — Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy and her family enjoy looking beyond the food at the local farmer’s market to see the wares of the over vendors.
  • Magic at the Market — Do you ever take time to really look at the food you eat? Amy at Anktangle enjoys marveling at the beauty (and the utility) of the foods and goods available at the farmers’ market.
  • Farmer’s Market Discoveries — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen reminisces about the discoveries she’s made at the Farmer’s Market throughout the years.
  • Are You Getting the Most out of Your Farmers’ Market? (My List of Not-So-Common “Musts”) — Sheila at A Living Family shares some uncommon ways to squeeze even more joy and connection (and yumminess!) from your local farmers’ market experience.
  • Pick Your Own And Eat It — Luschka from Diary of a First Child shares their trip to a PYO farm and the journey from picking to eating her favourite food

 Top Photo Credit: UGA College of Ag

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Comments

  1. This is an inspiring list. Eating local really is one the greenest ways to live, when you think about all the travel our food goes through. I’ve found it’s interesting the point about how a lot of farms are not certified organic but are organic in practice; it’s great to be able to talk with the farmers and confirm their practices in person!

  2. Oh I struggle with eating locally living up here after our years in your area. When there is fresh, farmer’s market produce year round, it’s so much easier. I usually give up on apples, potatoes, carrots, and onions in February or March and buy CA fruits and veggies for awhile until local asparagus finally arrives.

  3. It’s so great you’re being intentional about teaching these values to Tiny!

  4. Wonderful! I hope I can teach my daughter these same things by shopping at our farmer’s market. It is so important! Thank you!

  5. I agree that shopping locally is always a first priority for us!

  6. What a wonderful list! Imagine if every child was taught these lessons.

  7. Dionna @ Code Name: Mama says:

    There are SO many lessons we can share with our littles in this post – thank you for giving me new ideas on what we can learn from our own trips to the farmer’s market. I’ll keep these in mind as our market season starts to wind down (sob!).

  8. I really appreciate how you’ve shared reminders for us all as a lesson for your daughter. After all, learning about food and other essentials is part of what we need to get our food supply system back on track. Thanks!

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