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The Growing Young Farmers Program at Sidney Elementary, Keating Elementary and elsewhere provides children the experience of where food comes from, how it is grown and the importance of local farms and farmers in food production. These are the first steps to making people aware of the need for safe and reliable food supplies.
On the Saanich Peninsula — and the Island generally — it is known that in the event of a major disaster, food supplies will last three days. After three days, the Island begins to go hungry. Proponents of various food issues attempt to educate adults on food security, but starting with children may well be more effective. The challenges — curriculum change, food security and waste, the farming economy — exist but the opportunities are abundant, the rewards possible.
While growing garlic bulbs is a small step, the potential reward is an understanding of food production and supply. Growing Young Farmers teaches gardening skills, but it really teaches children how to think about food.