“Why are those zucchinis covered?” asks eight year old David.
“Well, you see, we don’t use pesticides so it’s a way to keep the bugs out,” I tell him.
“Hmm,” he replies, “I see a lot of bugs in there, I think you should have put some more rocks on to keep it down.”
The summer is in full swing and David is a part of the first group of school age kids that will be touring the Santropol Urban Rural Farm Exchange. While our aim is to produce a lot of good ol’ wholesome food, there is a strong community component to our organization. There are endless activities going on downtown at HQ and in keeping with educational/community building theme of Santropol, each week Noémie braves the island traffic to bring a busload of kids out to learn where their food comes from.
You can find a lot of harrowing statistics discussing the disconnect between people, particularly kids, and their food source, but I’d rather not focus on that. Though many of the kids have never been to a farm I am always impressed with the information they know, such as which vegetables each plant produces. Of course there are always a few young Davids that don’t mind giving me a tip or two on my farming practices.
Growing up in the Kootenays I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by natural spaces. While parks and urban gardens are greening up cities I personally think kids don’t have enough space to simply run wild and play. For me the best part of these tours is watching everyone take off into the back section of the McGill field to start up an impromptu game of chicken-freeze tag. After an hour of running around in open fields burning off energy, kids (I think Noémie will agree) make terrific passengers for the commute back to the city.