Learn to Garden … with the Family!
For some time now, we have been witnessing the appearance of new food trends; in the wake of the rise in environmental concerns and those related to well-being and health, we note a growth in demand for authentic products – local – organic, ecological, ethnic, and local or regional(1). Thus, we, informed and urban consumers – in 2006, 80% of Canadians lived in urban areas(2) – are forced to review relationships with agricultural and rural areas. From this perspective, we distinguish a return to the earth. On the other side of the spectrum, we are seeing more and more urban farming initiatives, whether commercial, community or private; we are claiming the right to grow fruits and vegetables, and to raise chickens here.
According to the ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation (MAPAQ), urban agriculture has multiple benefits:
- Aesthetic improvement of urban spaces;
- Protection of environmental components (absorption of rainwater, maintenance of biodiversity, recycling of organic waste and reduction of localized temperature rises);
- Self-sufficiency of urban food consumers;
- Creation of social relationships;
- Education of the population about food sources(3).
But what better way to educate people about where food comes from than learning to garden … with the family? The activity instills knowledge and values in children: knowledge of the food cycle, from germination to harvest, and health; and values of collaboration, patience, resilience, and respect for nature. In addition, the activity strengthens ties with others, family in this case. And, for precarious households, it represents an interesting avenue for obtaining healthy food.
A PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR YOU
The education of the population on the origin of food also goes through school benches. In fact, there are resources to promote agriculture and healthy eating in schools. A guide developed by the MRC of La Vallée-de-la-Gatineau lists many of them to encourage teachers to use them. Dear parents, do not hesitate to consult it for inspiration!
1 Gouvernement du Québec (2009). Étude de la dynamique et des tendances des marchés au sein du secteur agroalimentaire québécois.
3 MAPAQ (s. d.). Agriculture urbaine.