Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver Helped Me Realize Why My Kid NEEDS A Garden

Shawn Pearson Green Living 1 Comment

I’m a huge fan of the TED Conference.  If you’re not familiar with it, it’s held in California usually for one week in February.  TED (Technology Entertainment Design) is a conference with the brightest scientists and artists who give you the gift of a vision that could possibly make your world amazing. Their tag line is “Ideas Worth Spreading,” and from what I’ve seen, this statement is so true.

My Instant Realization
While watching Jamie Oliver’s TED presentation, honestly I already knew most of what he was saying since I am a big raving fan of both the documentaries King Corn and Food Inc. The part of his presentation that smacked my forehead like a V8 commercial was the short 30 second clip (@ 11 min, 15 sec). It’s the part about the elementary school kids not knowing what the different vegetables are as Jamie holds each one in front of them.  The exact few seconds of video that made my head spin was the point where the little boy who didn’t recognize the potato.  I realized at that very moment that I have never explained to my three-year-old that all those French fries he eats are actually potatoes.  If you think about it…for a child, it is quite a mental leap to understand that a long extruded square edible fried thing they pull out of their McDonald’s Happy Meal is only a small portion of an oblong greenish brown vegetable.

An Unexpected Amazing Treat For Kids
Spring 2009 my son thought it was the best treat ever to go out into the garden with his dad to pick and eat a ripened strawberry straight from the bushy plant.  He loved it so much he couldn’t wait for the raspberries to ripen.  If you want to see your child eat their peas, let them try some from a sugar snap pea pod right off the vine.  My son would eat them faster than I could split the next pod open.  And I know why…there is just something about the smell and taste when eating fresh sweet peas.  When that tender pea crushes between your molars you can actually feel a nanosecond of spiritual bliss, I promise you that! I literally have a really tough time eating peas from a can to this day.

In the summer of 2009 my son learned about tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and carrots.  In the fall he got to plant onion seeds, romaine lettuce, and watched as the broccoli grew all winter.  We’ve already started our Swiss chard, pak choi, and arugula for spring 2010.  He was so entertained when we put water on the compressed peat starter pellets. Watching them expand was instant gratification for him as well as sprinkling the seeds.  And to be honest, I too enjoyed the father/son time with him. Can’t wait for April!

Let’s Get Your Family’s Hands Dirty!
So in writing this post for GeekFury, I too, am passing along my support for Jamie Oliver’s cause.  Children should understand where their food comes from. It is our duty as their parents to help them know what is good for them to eat so that they will have the opportunity to live a long life free from disease.  I believe the very first step to helping them eat better is to show them how cultivate and eat something they created all by themselves.  It helps them build their own self confidence, while at the same time gives them the gift of a healthy future.