Ms. Cheryl entertains the children with her story about visiting her Grandmother's farm. She tells about Rusty the rooster and Mr. Crow and the perils of bragging! Teachable moments arise when Mr. Crow overhears the farm animals showing true concern for Rusty. He summons up his courage and apologizes to Rusty for bragging. Learning how to say you're sorry and asking for forgiveness is an important life lesson.
Knowing how to build friendships creates a sense of community and forges bonds that can last a lifetime.
Teaching children how to have friends and how to be a friend is worth the time and energy to help them develop healthy life skills.
Here is an article with in-depth recommendations on teaching children how to be a friend.
With the advent of grocery stores in the late 1940s and the flight from rural communities to large cities, many children today do not know where there food comes from! Small family farms are dwindling as we see large monoculture businesses owned by large corporations purchasing the land and controlling seed production. All of this has led to a disconnection with the land and how food is grown. This in turn has consequences for children and adults in knowing how to select healthy food and make wise choices for growing healthy bodies.
The following article outlines 8 benefits from farm living. (Please note - You don't have to live on a farm to make healthy food choices. Supporting farmer's markets where you can speak to the growers directly is a good start.)
"Apart from being close to the land, the produce, and the animals, living on a farm offers more in terms of our health. Here are eight health benefits of living on a farm.
1. Healthier Immune System In General - Living on a farm will result in a healthier immune system. How? Well, according to this study, growing up on a farm helps reduce the body’s immunological responses to food proteins. In layman’s term, it means those who grow up on a farm have reduced likelihood of developing an allergic disease. The study explains that when you live on a farm, you develop more regulatory T-lymphocytes. These are cells that pacify immune responses and limit inflammation. Allergies, inflammatory, and autoimmune diseases develop when these cells are reduced.
2. Specifically, Less Likely to Get Asthma and Allergies - There are about 6.8 million children in the US who suffer from asthma. Of these, children raised on farms, specifically dairy farms, have lower rates of asthma and allergies. According to a recent study, this could be due to farm dust, which triggered an immune system response from the lungs of mice that protected them from allergies and asthma. (Read more about the study here.) A separate study also found that exposure to farm environments may prevent (or dampen) allergies and asthma, even in adults.
3. Better Mental Health - In another study, Norwegian researchers had one group of participants with problems like anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and personality disorders work with animals on a farm; the other group didn’t have any such interactions. The study found that those who had an interaction with farm animals had improved self-efficacy and coping skills compared to those who had not spent any time working with animals. The researchers believe this improvement in mental health may be due to having physical contact with another living being through activities like milking, feeding, and caring for farm animals (which may promote self-esteem and confidence).
4. Farm Work is Great for Physical Fitness - Working on a farm will help you burn calories and develop those muscles. For example, for a 150-pound person, bailing hay for 30 minutes burns 277 calories and butchering a pig burns 170 calories, according to the March issue of Food & Wine.
5. Fresh Produce Equals More Nutrients - You know what they say, the nearer you get your food from its source, the better and more nutritious it is. Well, if you live on a farm, you can get your food fresh. A registered dietitian explains why here.
6. Early to Bed, Early to Rise - When you live on a farm, you follow a routine. The schedule starts early and ends early as well. You’d need plenty of sleep to replenish the energy you lost during the day’s work. This early to bed, early to rise routine is more in tune with our natural Circadian rhythm.
7. Plenty of Vitamin D from the Sun - Vitamin D, which we get primarily from the Sun, is important to our body. “To sum it all up, nearly every cell in the body needs vitamin D to function at full capacity,” says Dr. Robert Heaney, Professor of Medicine at Creighton University.
Fortunately, when you live on a farm you get plenty of this.
8. Fresher Air - If you live on a farm, you breathe fresher, cleaner air. This is due to having more plants absorb carbon dioxide. The open air of the countryside also helps relieve stress, quickens recovery of disease, and provides incentive to lose weight through outdoor exercise."
“I’m sorry Rusty, I want to apologize to you and your friends for what I did,” said Mr. Crow, “I’m glad no one got hurt. I want you to know I learned an important lesson. I won’t be bragging anymore!”
Experiential learning will last a lifetime once you and your children participate in growing your own food. In the story, Ms. Cheryl and the teacher gather cardboard egg cartons, vegetable seeds, and seed starter soil for each child. They witnessed the seeds turning into seedlings and eventually will be planted in the soil outside.
Here is an article with ideas and ways to start growing veggies in small containers, introducing your children to the growing process.
Digging deeper in this story reveals the importance of friendship and being able to apologize, understanding where and how our food is grown, and ways children can get their hands in the soil and grow their own veggies!