For Family Day, I took my two youngest daughters to a cooking class held at the terrific Petit Chefs Academy. This particular event was put on by Farmers Feed Cities, a campaign organized by a coalition of farm organizations commited to ensuring a thriving and sustainable farm industry in Ontario.
For over two hours, the kids learned to cook parsnip pancakes, omelettes, and handmade breadsticks (they even hand-ground the wheat themselves!) They met two farmers, one of whom was the Greenbelt’s Jason Verkaik, the President of Carron Farms in Holland Marsh. They talked about what it means to be a farmer and why local food is important to their health and future. Jason even showed his Greenbelt video that the Greenbelt Foundation produced with them a few years ago.
Jeff Wohlgemuth of Eisses Farm, an egg operation in Innisfil, was there to help with the omelettes. He brought along a dozen unsually shaped eggs that got the attention of everyone, including the adults.
Not surprisingly, the parsnip pancakes weren't a favourite with my kids, but they loved the breadsticks. My favourite were the omelettes, as they were made with Jason's fresh garlic that actually tasted like garlic! I am now a convert to Jason's garlic, and I'll be dropping by his Greenbelt farm to pick up at 10 lb bag soon.
Serving children healthy, fresh and flavourful food is every parent’s goal - raising three daughters has given me ample opportunity to do so. But it's also a struggle at times, with the constant barrage of advertising for unhealthy foods competing for my kids’ attention, with busy schedules that don't allow much time for cooking, and with tastes and preferences that don't always match that of the parent. But I keep trying. I expose them to different foods and allow them to try their hand at making their favourites (real pancakes - not parsnip - is my youngest daughters preference!)
Even more importantly, I tell them about the origin of their food, the hard work of the farmers, and the importance of healthy eating. I know first hand how difficult it can be strike a balance as a parent. But for me, connecting my kids with the food they eat is a priority.
Who knows, maybe one day they will be the farmers feeding cities.
- Burkhard Mausberg, CEO