Real Food for Real Kids – Guest Blog
How does the way we eat affect the health of the planet? We discovered a few weeks back that our food systems need to change significantly if we want to keep our earth healthy and pollution-free. Jane Goodall, through her Roots and Shoots organization, reminds us that a healthy planet starts with our children, where healthy habits are formed. Learn how you and youth you know can start making positive change by visiting our Sprouting Change campaign page.
We’re proud to shine a spotlight on an awesome organization, Real Food for Real Kids (RFRK) that delivers fresh, organic, local homemade meals to thousands of children in Toronto.
The food they cook not only supports our local farmers and producers, but also aims to inspire our children to make healthier choices for their future.
RFRK partners with Local Food Plus to bring locally-grown food to the table, which means the food travels less and their food miles are reduced; the numbers are huge when you multiply the lunches by the thousands! RFRK also reduces their environmental footprints with their commitment to zero-waste by using reusable containers.
Not only is RFRK changing the way our children eat, but they’re inspiring them to make healthier choices by fighting the status quo of food and cultivating positive values. Lulu Cohen-Farnell, Founder of RFRK is passionate about the work she does and believes that feeding these children will have long-lasting impacts!
We [David and I] made the choice to start Real Food for Real Kids because the alternative – doing nothing and accepting the status quo of highly-processed, convenience and junk foods – was, frankly, a depressing thought. Especially since we’d just had Max [our first child], and didn’t want his young palate growing up on foods that are so far from what real food actually is.
You always hear about other inspiring people who’ve decided to go out and change the world, and think to yourself, could I do that? Well, we decided it was too important not to try. And very quickly, realized that we wouldn’t have to do it alone. If it takes a village to raise a child, it definitely takes a village (or more) to change a food landscape into one that’s more sustainable, healthy, and nourishing.
Photo credit: Sandy Nicholson
Every day we get emails from people excited about what we’re doing, and wanting to do the same in their community. And this is fantastic! This is how real change happens. Having a vision for change, and then making the choice to work towards it.
It’s not easy, it’s a real commitment, and there are mornings where I wake up and can’t believe all that’s happening around me, but is it worth it? Absolutely.
Find something that you care deeply about – whether it’s our food, our forests, our waters, animals, anything – and if you believe that a change is necessary, then feel empowered to do something about it. Because you are, inherently, just by being here. It could be as small as buying from your local farmer’s market, or as big as quitting your job, taking out a double-mortgage on your house, and starting an organization that wants to change people’s eating habits for the rest of their lives (it’s possible!).
It doesn’t matter what, it’s just a matter of doing. You’ll be so much happier having done something than having done nothing at all. And you’ll inspire your kids to have the same sense of responsibility for their choices.
Photo credit: Sandy Nicholson
When it comes to food, parents come to me all the time saying their kids just won’t eat veggies, or won’t eat what they’ve cooked for dinner, or that it’s impossible for kids to love these things. And you know what I say? I tell them to relax. Because most often, it’s not about the food. It’s about something else entirely that’s going on in their day, or their head, or whatever.
If your kid falls off a bike after her second time riding, you don’t tell her that she’s a failure and won’t be able to ride a bike, and then hand over money for a TTC pass. No, you encourage her; you stick with her. Food is the same way. If you make a big deal of their refusal to eat one night, they’ll make a big deal of it, and you’ll have lost a very important opportunity.
But if you commit to being patient, and to helping your child develop this appreciation for real food, you’ll get there. I always tell parents, don’t give up and don’t give in. You don’t have to be mean or get upset about it (remember: chill out), but be patient. That’s how to make food the pleasurable, sensory experience – that keeps you healthy and feeling amazing – that it’s meant to be.
Read on for RFRK’s tips to deal with “picky” eaters: RFRK – Enjoy Food without a Struggle.pdf
Remember – in the battle to save the planet, youth can sprout change: Share stories of young people you know creating positive change, by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero! Contest details and more information can be found here.
GreenHeroes.tv is all about saving the planet, one story at a time. Do you have a great story to tell about how you’re helping to make the world a greener place? Enter the contest to nominate a friend or yourself – you could be one of Canada’s next GreenHeroes!
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