Mellow Mummy: Teaching The Origins of Food - Free Tomato Seeds! : Taking life as it comes...

Thursday 17 May 2012

Teaching The Origins of Food - Free Tomato Seeds!

As you will probably know, if only from our blog post earlier this week on growing your own veg, I'm pretty big on homegrown food. Spending time with my daughter in the garden together is not only great fun in the fresh air, but really importantly, it helps to teach Lara about the origins of the food she eats.

Lara loves to eat tomatoes. In fact, I would say that cherry tomatoes are just about Lara's favourite food on the entire planet. For a child like Lara, who has had the opportunity to grow her own veg since a very early age, the direct association between the tomato she eats and the plants that she grows is not a big jump to make but even for Lara, being able to identify that the contents of a jar of pasta sauce also originate from the same plant, is a much bigger step to make. Lara cooks with me in the kitchen, she sees the ingredients we add to certain dishes but she doesn't get to see or read the ingredients of the products we buy in the supermarkets and learning to grow her own veg is a small step in helping her to understand.

Dolmio sent me a report that they have compiled about the knowledge of UK kids have about the origins of their food and what constitutes healthy food - I'll be honest, it depressed me a lot. It doesn't suprise me to find out that a third of UK kids have never talked to their parents about the importance of eating healthy foods but it does really terrify me that over half of the children interviewed have never had a conversation with their family about where the food on their plate comes from - when I sit at the dining table with Lara, it is a daily topic of conversation; she seems quite genuinely fascinated by the foods she eats.

The good news is that most UK schools and nurseries now offer children the chance to grow fruit and vegetables, if only to a superficial level. But, Dolmio's research shows that children WANT to learn at home, they want to take what they've touched at school and apply it elsewhere. Children trust their parents to teach them about foods and about the world around them.

To try and help UK mums and dads to get their children growing at home, Dolmio have launched Papa's Big Tomato Challenge. You can register on their site and receive a free pack of tomato seeds along with growing tips for how to grow your own fresh tomatoes on a window ledge or in a tub - tomatoes really are dead easy to grow with as little or as much investment of time as you wish.

There are 100,000 free packs of seeds up for grabs at There are also lots of prizes to be won in their Growmato game and an overall winner of the Grow Your Own Tomato challenge will win a family holiday to Italy.

Dolmio sent Lara some plant pots, compost and a trowel to help her plant her tomato seeds.  We planted our tomatos (and gave them a good watering, as you can see!) on the first weekend in May and will be keeping you updated on their progress throughout the summer.

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