Kids and Food

June 12, 2011 § 2 Comments

I don’t generally think of our farm in relation to our boys. This is partly because I’m selfish and therefore too busy considering my relationship to it. And it’s partly because we’ve been doing what we’ve been doing for long enough that both Fin and Rye were born into it. And, quite literally, onto it:  Both entered the world on the wide pine boards of our living room.

Increasingly, however, I find myself wondering about our boys and their relationship to their food. I am struck by the fact that at 6 and 9 years of age, they know more about growing and producing food than I knew at 25. Or maybe even 30. They definitely know more about foraging than I do even now; either can walk into pretty much any patch of forest and walk out with  hands or hat full of edibles. A few days after my morel hunting adventure, after I’d returned home and futilely scoured all the far corners of our land for mushrooms, the boys came running into the house: “Papa, papa! We found morels.” Sure enough, they had. A huge patch, about 150-feet from the front door.

I’m pretty sure that what our boys are learning will serve them well, although I must confess there are times when I worry that we’re not doing enough to prepare them for a world that seems increasingly driven by technology. They do no know how to use a computer or a smartphone; heck, we don’t even have a television. When Fin was 5, Penny took him to a kayak shop to purchase a used boat. At the shop, there was a kayaking video playing in a corner. Fin was transfixed and somewhat bewildered. “Mama,” he called. “Come look at this box. It has pictures and sound!”

I think I will not dwell on whether or not our culture and economy will find value in my boys’ land-based skills. The future will be what the future has always been: Unknowable and largely beyond our influence, however much we might like to think otherwise. I think that instead I will, with as much grace, equanimity, and honesty as possible, try to show them the richness of experience that can come of remaining connected to our land, our animals, and therefore, our food. Because I think ultimately, that’s what will serve them, no matter how they choose to apply it.

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