Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thank God for Kids

Last Saturday, a young woman asked if she could take pictures of our stand for a class project.  Of course we said "YES!"

It was fairly late in the morning and things were rather slow, so she and I got started talking about her project.  She’s studying early education and while assisting in a pre-school she was astounded at the fact that most children thought their food originated with McDonalds or Chik-fil-A.  When pressed, they then assured that Martins and Walmart made their food.  She was hoping that her project would provide some much needed connection to actual farms and farmers. 

While I am always confounded at these stories, I am not really surprised.  Most folks are at least two generations removed from the farm.  Many people have never had a garden or even planted a seed.  The thought of food being grown and not just appearing on the grocery shelves is foreign to a lot of folks.  I am constantly amazed how many people, older women in particular, have absolutely no clue what to do with raw vegetables.

I take this knowledge for granted.  I grew up eating homegrown, home-cooked food.  Often the preparation method left something to be desired, but it was fresh! The Boss and I raised our own daughters eating homegrown, home-cooked food.  We taught them the subtleties of picking and preparation. We all appreciate that farm-fresh and home-made goodness. Many market customers are looking for the same type of quality.

There are scores of young shoppers at the Market these days. Young family folks looking for high quality and good nutrition for their small children.  Young adults concerned about the planet and the source of their food.  Teens and tweens that come for the atmosphere…or because their parents dragged them out of the house.  But, the teeny, tiny customers are the most engaging.  Life is still a big adventure to the pre-schoolers.  They ask their parents a million questions, exclaim with delight over the sights and sounds of the Market and pet every single dog they can.

There’s Jack with his chivalrous southern attitude who always greets me with a cheery, “Good morning Miss Barbawa!” as he returns egg cartons or helps pick out vegetables.  There’s Ava who is always dancing and singing and likes to help me with the calculator. Not too long ago, she made a special point to show the “farmer lady” her lollipop from the bank.   Charlotte stopped in the middle of the sidewalk once to exclaim, “oooh, Mama….these peppers are SO CUUUUTE!”  I met Hudson for the first time when she wanted to buy the teeniest, tiniest potato we had as a treat for her newborn baby brother.  Each of these children has been one of my special little Market friends since our very first meeting. There are many others, each with his or her own distinct flair for shopping at the Market. These very young shoppers are part of the reason I love Market day.

While we don’t often hand out treats to the little shoppers, (food allergies are very real…and VERY scary), we do make it a practice to at least attempt to engage these young folks in the whole process of KNOW YOUR FARMER, KNOW YOUR FOOD. By remembering their names and having some sort of conversation, that very human connection between farm and food has been forged. Sometimes we do have little veggies that didn’t quite make the cut that we can share with our little friends (after a quick check with mom or dad). Their enthusiastic reaction to these offerings is always amusing.

Perhaps our encouragement and friendship will have some impact on their future lives and occupations.  I trace some of my own love of growing things in part to a garden visit when I was just a very little girl. Read THIS!

All the young folks at the Market are the very future of the Market…these little ones may one day be shoppers or vendors. Their questions keep us on our toes and their enthusiasm is truly gratifying. They should be encouraged in their food trying adventures and praised for their comprehension of the connection between food and farm. They certainly make our Market mornings far more interesting!

It seems appropriate to end this Thankful Thursday with the lyrics from a song recorded by the Oak Ridge Boys back in 1982.

If it weren't for kids have you ever thought
There wouldn't be no Santa Claus
Or look what the stork just brought
Thank God for kids.

And we'd all live in a quiet house
With-out Big Bird or Mickey Mouse
And Kool Aid on the couch
Thank God for kids.

Thank God for kids, there's magic for a while
A special kind of sunshine in a smile
Do you ever stop to think or wonder why
The nearest thing to heaven is a child.

When you get down on your knees tonight
To thank the Lord for His guiding light
And pray they turn out right
Thank God for kids.

Daddy, how does this thing fly?
And a hundred other where's and why's
You really don't know but you try
Thank God for kids.

When you look down in those trusting eyes
That look to you, you realize
There's a love that you can't buy

Thank God for kids...

No comments:

Post a Comment