Growing healthy children
Asking questions about the ethics and consequences of these relationships is essential, particularly now that Tesco have just launched a national campaign to be the main educator of our children as to where their food comes from. Whilst at the same time 29% of Scottish children are said to be obese or over-weight. Are we heading in a healthy direction with this? The Fife Diet is horrified, and launched their own campaign to reject it, and other major Scottish food organisations, such as Nourish Scotland, and even a few journalists, have picked up on this issue.Why, when we are increasingly concerned about childhood obesity, should this dangerous mixture be tolerated? With the economy aggressively trying to reestablish itself after the 2008 financial crash, are profits prioritised way above the health of our children? There surely must be a rebalancing of the relationship between the economy and health..
Last year I gave a talk to a cross-section of the public at an event organised by Zac Gratton, a sustainability student, as part of his course work. Someone from the audience asked me a simple question: "Can you get your children to eat the food you grow?" My mind sprang back to the summer months in our yard. I could visualize my son picking out spring onions, giving them a little wash and munching away. My youngsters happily picked and ate these, and fresh herbs, such as chives and parsley. So I could answer her very confidently: 'Yes, if you grow it at home or locally they will eat it!'
My experiences have taught me that if you grow food around your home, your children will eat it as fresh as it comes. If you invest some time in the garden growing your own food, no matter how little, your children will soon be crunching on raw carrots and munching on cybies. They will happily dig up tatties and turn them into potato salad, with just a tiny bit of help from you.Such a connection with food is key to promoting healthy eating.
Small is beautiful
A crucial point that must be emphasised is that it isn't the food per se that will encourage the children to eat it, it is having healthy enthusiastic adults educate and inspire them,because they care about food. This is why small is beautiful - it is the connections between people, communities and food that matter, it is the personal relationships that are key to having children eat healthy food.
Big business cannot do this
It is essential that policy-makers in the area of children's food education take seriously the roles and responsibilities of vested interest groups, and consider the ethics involved. It is worth reminding ourselves of the democratic principle quoted below: