For Hometown News
PALM CITY -- The YMCA of the Treasure Coast supports a premise that children will choose healthier foods, including more fruits and vegetables, if products are fresh, locally grown, and picked at the peak of their flavor.
To introduce this ideal to participants at an early age, the Y's Teddy Bear Academy Preschool visited a local farm so that the children could better understand the benefits of locally grown fruits and vegetables.
In 2010 Congress designated October as National Farm to School Month in order to improve nutrition, support local economies and educate children about the origins of food.
This year, Oct. 18 was designated specifically as Farm to Preschool Day. In order to participate along with other preschoolers across the nation, the four and five-year olds from the Y preschool visited D & D Farms in Palm City.
The children took a hayride through the fields and the farmer talked to them about how fruits and vegetables are grown in Florida. The children stopped several times along the way to examine the fruits and vegetables and to ask the farmer questions. They also got to choose a pumpkin and take it home.
According to Delia Diaz, the Y Preschool Coordinator, the kids got to pick tomatoes and really got to see how the other fruits and vegetables were growing. "They were really interested in the eggplants. They were amazed by how big it was and that it could hang there and not fall."
Even though the kids from the Y are young, they were able to remain interested through the whole tour. According to Ms. Diaz, the farmer was able to explain how different foods are grown at different times due to the changing weather so that they would understand it. He also explained where the food goes once it's picked. Some kids were even able to identify some of the stores and produce stands that D & D Farms services as the one that their family shops at.
"The farmer was great," said Ms. Diaz. "He knew just what to say to get the kids excited. He invited all of them to return when the temperature drops, so that they could pick strawberries. They were all excited about that."