I posted recently about OHM2013, the computer hacking conference I recently made a presentation on Open Source Food. Earlier that day I also gave a small workshop for children.
It’s an issue in the US for example that many kids, especially in less affluent city centers, sometimes don’t know what real food looks like. Jamie Oliver documented this in the TV series he recently made there. It’s because some kids are so used to eating something out of a box or a slice of pizza, if you show them a vegetable they don’t know what it is. I know from visiting relatives in the US, many kids hardly eat anything except meat, and usually very cheap cuts of meat.
Here in the Netherlands, I don’t think the situation is so serious. Most kids here are used to eating vegetables, and know what they look like. They don’t however know vegetables that aren’t sold in supermarkets, and they aren’t very familiar with dried beans. I brought in some blue potatoes, and they had never seen those before.
I brought some heirloom tomatoes I bought from the local farmers market, together with some fresh herbs (basil, celery leaf herb, cilantro and parley) for tasting. They had never seen heirloom tomatoes before, and were eager to taste and talk about them. There was one kid there who hated normal tomatoes, but like the heirloom tomatoes. I left his mom wondering where she could buy more, because they are not generally available here… The herbs went over pretty well too, and we talked about the different tastes and what they were. Even some of the adults there couldn’t identify them.
After tasting, we went on to the arts and crafts. I gathered all the leftover beans and lentils I could find at home, and bought some more from a farmers market stand that sells them by weight in small quantities. In total I had a few kilos, and one of the organizers also brought in some too. We had some rice, other grains and alphabet soup pasta too. The kids were very disappointed they couldn’t taste the beans! I hadn’t thought to cook any of them.
Here was the results of the arts and crafts project:
Where we started
Okay, we’re cheating a little here. The one in the middle with the house and tree was done by one of the adults… The others were done by children aged 4-7.
Has anyone else done biodiversity projects with children?