Many years ago, I watched a program featuring Jamie Oliver talking to British school children about food. He showed a range of fruit and vegetables and asked the kids to name them. Zucchini and even celery had them stumped. Which is really quite scary. And yet the situation may not be much different in Australia.
In 2012, the Primary Industries Education Foundation in 2012 carried out a survey involving nine hundred students. The results were alarming – forty-five percent of the students surveyed did not associate the bread, cheese or banana in their lunchbox as having come from a farm and a quarter of the students surveyed thought that cotton socks were an animal product.
In response to the survey findings, three women from rural New South Wales – Cathie Colless, Emily Colless and Deb Murray – saw a need to educate children about farming, farmers and the production of the food that ends up on our tables. The result is a book written for children aged from two to seven years – Yum Yum… Where Does it Come From?.
The book is written in rhyme and shows the connection between various fresh produce and the animals and plants that produce them. The book also shows children that farmers care for the land and their animals because, without care, our land would not be productive.
While some people may find it a little confronting to reveal that ‘spaghetti bolognaise, sausages and steak’ come from a cow, it’s the reality. I certainly remember putting roast beef in front of my three-year-old, only to have him ask “What’s a ‘beef’?”!