Teaching Kids About Where Food Comes From

Disclosure: This blog post was created with Hellmann’s®  and JONES Voice. All opinions expressed are my own.

My youngest daughter, Bridget, is inquisitive and peppers me with lots of questions. She’ll ask random things out the blue and I’ll secretly wonder where she is coming up with all these questions. For example, she asks me about weird cat behaviours or the classic one all parents get eventually about where babies come from. The one question I don’t think she has ever asked me is where our food comes from. I’m a little shocked that she hasn’t yet since she’s asked me about almost everything else.

I, on the other hand, have given this question some thought. I’m the type of person who reads the ingredient labels and looks at the country of origin on my produce. I love food and am always trying out new recipes. My Instagram account and blog recipe box speaks to that fact! It’s important for me to feel good about the food I’m preparing for my family. I value quality ingredients because I know food tastes better when you cook with them.

So where does our food come from? In a lot of cases, it’s farms right here in Canada. I recently had the opportunity to tune into a Live Stream on the Hellmann’s Facebook page where I learned what goes into crafting the perfect jar of mayonnaise. As part of the Hellmann’s Real Food Movement® campaign, Hellmann’s  brought three kids from Montreal and their parents to a Hellmann’s Blue Ribbon canola farm in Saskatchewan. The event was super informative as it offered its viewers a peek into what exactly a canola farm looks like and the amount of work involved in harvesting.

Teaching Kids About Where Food Comes From

I lived in Alberta for four years so I’ve seen the miles and miles of canola farms during our drives across Canada. I knew canola oil was used in cooking and to make mayonnaise, but other than that, I didn’t know much else. Not only were the kids from Montreal educated, but I was too!

During the visit, the kids learned many interesting facts about canola and were able to see it up close and personal. The canola plants will grow even taller than they are by the time it’s ready to harvest. The kids seemed impressed by that fact.

My favourite part was watching the kids whisk their canola oil and eggs to make mayonnaise. It was so important to whisk it quickly to incorporate air into the mixture.

Teaching Kids About Where Food Comes From

We also were able to “attend” a family dinner with the children, their parents and the farm family. We watched as they made delicious chicken burgers topped with Hellmann’s mayonnaise, of course. It was sweet to listen to the conversation and learn more about life on the farm.

After the informative life stream, I was hungry from seeing that mouthwatering dinner spread, but also more informed. I’m looking at that jar of Hellmann’s mayonnaise in my fridge differently now – with a new appreciation of all the hard work that goes into making it.

I was hungry after watching the live stream event so I made myself a delicious toasted tomato sandwich with Hellmann’s mayonnaise of course!

Teaching Kids About Where Food Comes From

I also wanted to share a few interesting tidbits about canola that I learned from the event.

  • You can eat canola and it tastes like peas! The children tried some right from the farmer’s field.
  • The yellow flowers on a canola plant make pods and inside these little pods are the seeds. The seeds are what makes the canola oil.
  • In the fall, the petals fall off and the seeds turn black. Mid-September is harvest time.
  • Canada grows more canola than any other country in the world.
  • The name “canola” comes from a combination of “Canada” and “oil”

I’m in Ontario so we are pretty far from the canola farms in Saskatchewan. It would be neat to visit one with my daughter so she could also see firsthand what life is like on the farm. However, there are things you can do at home to teach kids about where food comes from. A simple way is to start a conversation. Open up a dialogue and encourage your kids to ask questions. You could start by watching the video of the visit to a Hellmann’s Blue Ribbon canola farm and then looking online at Hellmann’s for more information about the Real Food Movement.

Another way is to learn by doing. Now, I’m not talking about starting a canola farm in your backyard! Instead, work with your kids on an in-home farm activity where kids, with your guidance, can make an item from a product you’d see on a farm. I have a fun and simple one you can try!

How to Make a Seed/Grain Bag

I suffer from sore neck muscles and headaches and find that applying heat helps to ease the pain by relaxing my tight muscles. Instead of reaching for an electric heating pad, next time I’m using this simple DIY grain bag. It’s homemade with natural ingredients and is something your kids can help you make. Think of it as a teachable moment to talk to them about where food comes from and it’s many uses in our lives!

Teaching Kids About Where Food Comes From

You don’t need a pattern or even a sewing machine. Hand stitching will work too. I borrowed my Aunt Lori’s sewing machine to make mine since my hand sewing skills aren’t the best.

Teaching Kids About Where Food Comes From

For materials, you’ll need fabric and some grains or seeds. I choose an old 100% cotton t-shirt and pot barley I had in my pantry. You could also use canola seed, rice, wheat, barley, oatmeal, beans or flax. My suggestion is to use whatever you already have in your home to keep it simple.

Teaching Kids About Where Food Comes From

Step 1: Cut two pieces of fabric in either a square or rectangle. You don’t need a pattern and can make it whatever size you like. Just make sure the two pieces are the same size.

Step 2: Sew three of the four sides together with a sewing machine or a needle and thread. Your pouch is ready to fill.

Teaching Kids About Where Food Comes From

Step 3: Fill the pouch with your seeds or grains and sew the open side to close.

Use your new pouch as a heating or cooling pack. Keep in the freezer to provide cool relief or microwave it for nice, relaxing heat.

Teaching Kids About Where Food Comes From

As you can see, a farm visit isn’t required to teach kids about where food comes from. Try this activity at home with your kids and you’ll end up with an item you can use AND teach your kids at the same time. It was easy and fun!

Have your kids ever asked you where food comes from?

Check out more about Hellmann’s and “Where does your food come from” by visiting Hellmann’s on Facebook.

Stacie Vaughan

Stacie is the mom of two girls and lives in Ontario, Canada. She enjoys cooking/baking, photography, reading, DIY and is fueled by lots of coffee!

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