Recently I got to tag along as Tara went to meet with a very important sector of our customer base…. Preschoolers! Part of our community outreach program is to plant the seeds of farming and healthy eating in the minds of our local children. And part of my duty as official tagger-along is to watch and learn as Tara educates clients and the public at large about the health benefits of broccoli and the joy in getting to know your farmer.
When we arrived at the school, boxes of broccoli in tow, we were greeted by dozens of smiling curious faces. Everyone seemed eager to know who we were and what the special visitors (as we were called) were going to share with them.
With much cajoling and repeated requests to listen, the teachers brought the children to sitting on a rug in one of the classrooms. Tara took her place in a tiny chair at the front of the room and greeted the kiddos. She asked the children if they would believe she was a farmer? Many of them agreed she looked just like a farmer, while others didn’t seem convinced. We broke the broccoli out of the cartons, as-if to prove our point to approving ooohs and awwwws. In what would later prove to be a somewhat messy decision, we handed a broccoli bunch or crown to each child so they could see close up what Tara was describing to them. They learned about each important part of the broccoli, how it grows and how broccoli is harvested. A video taken by the Florida Department of Agriculture at the Hastings Farm was shown to further engage the audience in the process of bringing broccoli from the field to the table.
All in all it was a good day. The kids got a big kick out of a game we played that Tara must have christened that day. The game was Show Me Your Crown, Show me your Bunch! Whenever “Crown!” was called out the kids holding crowns (and to be honest most of the ones holding bunch) would hold the broccoli high above their heads. Then it was the bunch’s turn to display their magnificent vegetables. I’m not sure to this day whether the kids actually know which is which but they sure had an enthusiasm for broccoli!
The day was a big success. I feel like the kids really believed that eating their broccoli and growing healthy food are important and FUN! I’ll keep you posted on our next community outreach program. We’re thinking it might be broccoli story time.