At The Farm, we’re honored to have a staff who truly care about our mission. From time to time, we’ll have them share their thoughts on why we’re working hard to make a difference.
A VITAL LESSON
“Teaching children about the natural world should be seen as one of the most important events in their lives”
~Thomas Berry, The Dream of the Earth
As I watch forests and farmland disappear, our food system begin to crumble, and people bury their heads in their mobile devices with indifference toward the natural world, I yearn for a different time.
The yearning, however, does me no good, if I do nothing about it here and now.
Before I had children, my greatest passion was environmental education. There was nothing more important to me than educating children about the natural world, disconnecting them from the TV, the couch, the desk, the video games, and connecting them to the outdoors.
I provided them the space and time to explore, get dirty, listen to the creak of trees, crawl on their bellies after a line of ants, or blow through a field like a crisp autumn leaf. I offered them the freedom to discover and touch and smell and hear the natural world.
They, in return, offered me hope for the future.
Now, there is nothing more important than also sharing these gifts with my own children. We get lost, take risks, and find our way home, pockets weighted with rocks, shells, and leaves.
We also spend a lot of time in our garden and at our friend’s farm. My younger daughter usually arrives in a tutu to pick eggs, her stuffed unicorn under her arm as she fearlessly navigates her way through a sea of chickens. My older daughter comfortably ducks under the head of a towering draft horse, inspects the difference between a sheep and deer track in the mud, and gets giddy over handfuls of composting worms.
When we spend our time like this, they are connected.
Their growing bodies are part of the earth, the animals, the air, our food. They know when to expect certain foods because they helped plant them, they helped harvest them. They know the hard work and patience it takes to give us a plate of scrambled eggs, sliced tomatoes, or a chicken dinner.
Now mind you, my children still dabble in the modern pop culture world, but I am proud that they know where their food comes from and that at a young age they have developed a strong connection to the natural world.
They give me hope. They are our future.
All of our children are the future stewards of this land.
Without a connection to the natural world, what kind of future can we expect for our planet, our land, our farms, and ultimately, our health?
There are so many important lessons to learn, but there is nothing more critical than planting a seed and watching it grow into a tomato, harvesting it, and eating it, enduring the dirt and sweat and patience that goes along with it.
Not everyone is given the same opportunities, but if you step out your door, you will find nature and it is there that you connect. The more we know about something, the more we begin to care about it.
The more we care, the more we do to protect it.
If we want a future for local, nutritious food, a healthy planet, independent farms, and strong community, we need to look to our children. If they have no understanding of these things, we cannot expect them to rally for the future of them.