I want my children to know where food comes from. Not just the aisle of the grocery store. It's such a fabulous thing to run to the grocery store for the extra items I need but raising our own meat, eggs, and produce is a process I want to pass down to my kids.
Knowing where and how our food comes is important especially in today's world. For example GMO's aren't labelled, everything is corn fed just to put on weight, produce is picked to ripen while in transit, and much of the items grown on large scale are doused in chemicals. That is not what I want for me or my children's consumption. Of course there are drawbacks to raising your own produce and meat. Losing something to a predator or a fire in your chicken coop can really be frustrating and a waste of time and money. But as the process goes along, you can quite or teach valuable lessons to children as I try to do. So many teachable lessons come from homesteading. In the case of predators, teaching little ones death and disappointment are part of life is hard but how do we overcome it? And how to we protect the coop better? Seeing all the positive things that come from homesteading are easy. The bountiful harvests, self-preparation for winter months, how healthy our food is that we are putting into our bodies, and the enjoyment it gives us are just some examples.
We address homesteading with children as they are part of the process. When I plant trees, they help. My kids are 5, 3 and 8 months. My daughter drags along her mini wheel barrow and picks out the top grass pieces and throws them in the woods, I stroll my little guy along in the stroller, and my son puts my shovel and rake in the little red wagon and brings them to location where I plant the next tree. I, of course to do digging and planting but My daughter LOVES to place the tree in the hole while I cover up the roots. They also love being involved with the animals. Our egg chickens are so friendly because they are constantly handling and hand feeding them. It makes me smile when I see them 'understanding' the process of food, life, and nurturing something that can give back to them.
We also would like our children to know how to provide food for themselves and others. In a crisis (current issues include less honeybees, higher GMO production, the economy?), I want my children to be survivors. Those that know the woods, livestock, and growing vegetables. I am not a doom and gloom type of person, but it is certainly beneficial to know a bit about food producing in a time of need.
In our homesteading adventures, it's critical for children to see death and birth. We figure the sooner they learn this, the sooner they can understand and help change things for the better or to witness the miracle of life. So many children now-a-days are almost sheltered from this process and given answers that never answer their innocent questions. After all, they are just people.
Lastly, we want ourselves and our children to eat healthy. The best. And the only way to do that, is to grow it yourself or know a small farmer/homesteader that does. Supporting them is critical to getting good food for other families that do not have the space or time to grow.
I love watching animals grow and be part of the life cycle and incorporating my children into that is fun. Trying at times, but educational and purposeful.
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