Conny Kappler is a market garden farmer in Rolling Hills, Newell County Alberta and talks to children about agriculture in their lives, through classroom presentations and now in a new book. Many children now living in urban settings are unaware of where there food originates or how it's produced. (Ralaina Virostek)

Book: From ‘Dirt to Dinner’-Teaching children about where food comes from

Where does food come from? Do kids really know?

It’s an interesting question and the fact is that as society becomes more urbanised, more children don’t realize that food, their hamburgers, bread, eggs, milk, breakfast cereal etc, originates on a farm.

For more than 20 years, Conny Kappler who farms vegetables in Newell County, Alberta, and at her parents farm in Cypress County has been travelling to schools in the region to talk about agriculture to young children.

That experience has led to a website “I love dirt” and important book on the topic “Dirt to Dinner”

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The book is important for several reasons says Kappler. She says it’s not only to let children know that food originates on farms and not at a fast food outlet or supermarket, but also the connection between food and the environment, and how they work together to create our food.

Children’s book “Dirt to Dinner” gives children a glimpse into how they get their food. (photo Ralaina Virostek)

In addition it’s also to provide a first sense that without a realisation of those two points, children may eventually hold jobs where they decide on the future of land use. If farm land is reduced, or farming otherwise threatened she says we will lose the ability in this country to feed ourselves, and others, and will have to look abroad with the consequences of depending on foreign influence for these vital products.

The book also deals with some of the science of the farm such as photosynthesis, pollination, soil, and weather along with references to the other connected businesses throughout society related to farming from machinery sales to banking. It also has the potential for far greater reach through purchases and distribution than she can achieve through her classroom talks limited to her region.

Ralaina Virostek-photographer (L) and Conny Kappler-author (R) with copies of Dirt to Dinner ( Pat Dirk)

The book is intended for readers from grade 2 to grade 6 level, and although the material may sound quite complicated, Kappler draws on her years of classroom skills with children to keep it simple. The book is divided with the simpler text and message on the pages on the right, with more detail for the more advanced readers on the left page.

The book is laid out in such a way that younger readers can read and understand pages on the right hand side, while older children can get more detail on the left side pages.

Although only a month old, Dirt to Dinner is already getting great comments from educators who say there is a real need for such a book in order to give children, especially in urban situations,  at least a first understanding of the role farming and agriculture plays in our daily lives,

Categories: Economy, Environment, Health
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