Encourage Eating, Growing, and Buying Fresh, Local Produce!
Maryland is rich with farms that produce a wide variety of delicious fruits and vegetables! Nothing is better than eating local produce when it is in season. Engage children in fun activities that teach them about local food, how these foods are grown, and trying new foods.
- Engage young children coming to your site with these free to order or download books to learn about trying new foods:
- Two Bite Club teaches the importance of eating and trying a variety of foods to stay healthy.
- Discover My Plate engages young learners in nutrition and how to balance their plate in order to eat the foods we need to keep our bodies healthy. Teach kids how plants grow and where their food comes from with simple gardening activities.
- Continue the exploration of food with this book and simple lesson: Fruit is a Suitcase for Seeds. Allow kids to explore different foods with seeds to discover if they have seeds on the outside or on the inside.
- Introduce kids to the magic of growing plants with this Seed Magic Lesson, in which you will dissect a seed to show that inside each seed is a baby plant. Follow this activity with a tasting of different kinds of seeds, such as popcorn, corn, peas, or beans.
- Create your own tiny garden terrarium to grow lettuce with a Salad Cup Terrarium. While the plants grow, you can observe the water cycle and plant growth in this fun little take-home experiment.
- Watch seeds sprout and grow right in front of your eyes with a Garden in a Glove.
- Children can take their gardens along with them using the Salad Necklace and when they are ready, they can trim, wash, and eat the leaves!
- If your site has a school garden, contact the school garden coordinator to determine if the garden will be active over the summer and if you can utilize it for a summer meals program. Summer gardens can be used for hands-on activities, tastings, and summer food donations. For tips on food safety in the garden, take a look at these fact sheets: Food Safety in Your School Garden or Greenhouse, Food Safety Tip Sheet for an Outdoor School Garden, Food Safety Tips for School Container Gardens, Food Safety Tips for School Tower Gardens.
- Take kids on a virtual farm tour with these videos to teach them how farms operate and where our food originates!
- Invite a Farmer to your site for show and tell. Ask them to teach kids about crops grown in Maryland and how a farm operates.
- Share a link to through parent emails or social media to this blog post with on “Fun Summer Foods” to encourage eating and trying locally grown food at home. (Printable PDF)
- Encourage parents to try growing food at home with this newsletter, (Spanish).
- Send home this flyer (Spanish) for summer recipes, how to find a farmers’ market nearby, and tips for stretching food dollars in the summer.