Farm Camp

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Welcome to Good Dirt Radio, where daily lifestyle choices connect…to a healthier world.

Americans are spending increasing amounts on health care but are sicker than ever. Perhaps there’s a connection between America’s poor health and the sprayed, processed, factory foods we eat. Most of todays industrial food systems are dependent on toxic pesticides, chemical fertilizers and long distance transport, all major sources of pollution. With the recent advent of genetically modified plants, GM foods like corn, soy and potatoes can now be found in around 80% of conventional supermarket products. Many consumers are unsuspecting ‘guinea pigs’ of industrial food and largely untested GMO’s while legislation protects big Ag from regulation and liability for their actions.

Since quality food is our best medicine and since children… are the future of our species, when kids learn about the benefits of locally produced food… there is hope. Thanks to the Internet, farmer’s markets and widespread media reports on the dangers of industrial food, consumers are starting to grasp the importance of seeking better food options. Real values like superior nutrition and health, reduced pollution and local jobs are coming to the forefront. Educators are learning that teaching kids about healthy, local food can create pathways to a saner future.

Laura Plaut is the Founder of Common Threads Farm and Director of Farm Camp in Bellingham, Washington. Farm Camp is a summer children’s program that involves gardening and cooking, caring for livestock and learning through age appropriate art, song and story. The kids get their hands in the dirt planting seeds… and cook delicious food, leaving camp with a better understanding of where food comes from and why its a part of healthy living

Plaut: Our goals are really to connect kids with healthy food in joyful hands-on ways both through cooking and through gardening. And what we hope that they are going to walk away from that with is a sense that eating well is not only important, which is really more of a grown-up message, but that is fun and it feels good.

Plaut says her ‘seed to table’ Farm Camp not only helps kids but creates a healthy ripple effect.

Plaut: We’ d like to say that gardens grow good people and I think its also true that gardens grow good community. You know there’s so many different ways that we can get kids engaged in the world whether it’s a soccer team or an acting group but the thing that I love about food is that you don’t have to look very far for any of our current social and environmental issues to find a tread that connects it back to how we’re dealing with food as the society. So choosing to engage kids through the door of food first of all helps us tackle, in hopeful, joyful ways, some really important issues and at the same time we’re building skills that all of us as parents want for our kids in terms of patience and observation and teamwork and sticking with a task all the way through.

Plaut hopes to counter big Ag’s aggressive junk food advertising to kids and families.

Plaut: And this started for me as a parent when I found myself feeling really concerned about the messages my child was getting about what he should want to eat and feeling like if I was going to try to provide a counterpoint to some of the heavy, heavy marketing that’s out there in the world I need to do it in a very positive way, otherwise I was going to be fighting a losing battle.

Plaut also operates Farm School, a program that brings gardening, animal care and cooking to the classroom and sees food as a doorway to larger social and environmental issues.

Plaut: If we want kids to be the leaders of our future, in dealing with some of these social and environmental issues, I think the way we’re going to get them there is through a sense of hopefulness and a sense of agency and a sense of their own ability to make a difference. And if we start with small children and small acts, like the kinds of acts that we can create in a garden, my belief is that that will lead to kids who, as they grow up, truly believe themselves capable of making larger changes in our world in positive ways. So that’s what we’re aiming for, a sense that this kind of stewardship can be and should be just part of what we do.

For more info on Farm Camp or how to start one in your community, please visit us at

Knowledge is power. When a critical mass of people learn the issues and practice solutions, we can be a strong force for change, creating a saner future.

I’m Tami Graham and I’m Tom Bartels. Thanks for joining us on Good Dirt Radio, digging up good news…. for a change.

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