One glance at our name will give you a hint as to how passionate we are about celebrating everything local to the Llano Estacado. Our region has an incredible bounty to offer, and we’re committed to helping you raise your own food, find local producers, and support local artisans and businesses.
But like all good things, living the local life is best done in groups...particularly family groups. That’s why we’re expanding our efforts to include resources that help you teach your kids what it means to live as locally as possible.
What is a Locavore?
Before we dive into the art of raising locavores, let’s define what we even mean by this term. It has nothing to do with being crazy; unless, being mad for food counts.
Simply put, a locavore is someone committed to eating food that is locally produced as much as possible. This can be food from area farmers and growers, or it can be food that comes from right outside your door. The point is, to raise kids with an awareness of where food comes from and a desire to have it be as local as possible.
Why Do We Want Our Kids to Be Locavores?
You might be wondering why it’s even worth it to commit to raising little locavores. We think this is actually an important question to ask and one that’s worthy of your consideration. Unless you’ve taken the time to think about whether or not it’s worth it to teach your children the value of living locally, it will only feel like a chore or a frustration.
We’ve thought of six benefits that come from raising your children with a local perspective. What would you add to this list?
Knowledge of where food comes from
Knowing where your food comes from is just as valuable for children as it is for adults. Our experience has been that children who get to “experience” their food either by growing it themselves or by interacting with local producers are more likely to try different things. Many of our followers share examples of kids who will eat kale straight from the garden!
A larger world view
Understanding where food comes from gives kids a wisdom and maturity about their world. It’s an interesting twist that connecting with local producers will give kids a larger world view, but it really does. It teaches kids to learn about means available to them beyond the corner grocery store. Meeting with local producers also models for your kids what it means to research, find, and connect with different groups of people, then prepares them by encouraging public speaking skills and interacting with adults.
Positive impact upon family, others, and the environment
When we live the local life, the benefits work like the concentric circles made by a rock in a pond. It benefits our kids and family by providing us with healthy food and quality time together. It benefits our neighbors and local economy because more of the money we spend stays in our community. And, it benefits the environment. Many area producers practice organic gardening techniques, which means your food is grown without harsh chemicals or pesticides.
Nothing teaches patience like waiting to see the fruits of your labor. With each day that passes as our gardens grow, our kids are reminded of what it means to wait well, and what it means to do work while you wait. We can all agree that these are lessons that translate into adulthood!
Along with cultivating patience, living with a local focus teaches a large amount of responsibility. Kids who partake in growing and raising their own food are more likely to eat that food and take a sense of pride and accomplishment in it. Knowing that they have to collect the eggs each day or help pick weeds teaches them the importance of doing your work and seeing the reward of it.
Grows a desire to source all things locally.
Most people start the process of living locally with growing their own food and supporting local food producers. But this desire often translates into wanting to live locally as much as possible, buying soaps, jewelry, baked goods, flowers, coffee, and more from local producers and artisans. As we mentioned earlier, this keeps more money in a community, and helps it become a thriving entity not dependent on any one business or industry.
How is This Done?
The key is taking small steps and thinking intentionally about ways to involve your kids in the journey. We want to help you in this process. This is why we’re making an effort to create ways to incorporate your kids into producing your own food, learning about local producers, and attending local events such as farmers markets.
We want to keep you all mindful of one thing: our goal here is to inspire, and not discourage. We never want to make someone feel bad for a trip to a local supermarket or for visiting a chain restaurant. Instead, we want to encourage even the smallest of steps in living a more locally-centered life.