A friend posted the following picture on Facebook:
I like the message of the picture. As a former “farm boy,” I often forget that many children have no idea how the food they eat is grown or from where it comes. I had the benefit of seeing crops in the field and garden grow, be harvested and end up on the dinner table. The beef we ate had a name because it came from dairy cattle that had been in the barn for years but, when their milk production dropped, they were butchered and filled our freezer.
I think schools should have gardens to allow children the opportunity to see how plants grow and to be able to eat the produce from the seeds that they helped to plant.
But there’s a little problem with this picture making the rounds of Facebook. Can you see it?
The children are harvesting lettuce but if you look closely, you’ll see that almost all of the lettuce has bolted. The plants are well past their prime and if they eat this lettuce, it’ll be bitter. Instead of instilling interest in natural food that’s grown before their very eyes, these children are about to experience lettuce that tastes terrible. They might end up learning that lettuce is better from the store than from the garden!
School gardens can teach children a lot about how their food grows. But they also need to have teachers who know when to harvest a crop so that the children’s experience with naturally grown food will be a good one. If there isn’t someone in the school who’s familiar with growing vegetables, there’s always help available from the Cooperative Extension office within the school’s district.