A few years ago I distinctly remember standing in our community garden asking a small group of children to name where the food they ate came from. They blankly stared back and answered, “The grocery store!”. I stated, “Well, yes that is where we purchase much of our food but where does it actually come from? Where is it grown?” They couldn’t answer. My heart sank.
These children were part of the first year of Camp Skillz – a camp designed to facilitate a meaningful time of development for children, specifically for those of low-income families who would most likely never have such an opportunity otherwise. That moment changed me as I realized lack of knowledge, or concern, the upcoming generation has for the production of food in our world. What will we offer to this next generation and what, in turn, will they be able to offer a world in need?
Our affluence in the West has made it quite easy to dismiss the important skill of food production. We easily acquire fruits, vegetables and meats from around the world at any moment from the grocery store or at the touch of an iPad screen. This global “advancement” has produced a lack of sensitivity to the changing seasons around us. Globalization has gifted us with a craving for things that can only be produced thousands of miles away, often by underpaid workers.
It is vital for today's youth to learn the importance of growing food. The instruction that the prophet Jeremiah gives God's people is to “Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce” despite the great adversity they were headed into (29:5). G.O.D. Int'l offers children and youth the opportunity to learn about food production, and take an active role in growing the food they eat. Whether students at the Academy for G.O.D., participants at Camp Skillz, students at our after-school program or volunteers with Students Living A Mission, young people are getting the opportunity to grow food and deliver fresh produce to neighbors in need. We believe that a better future for our world comes on the other side of investing in and educating our children. That education cannot be without a knowledge of food production.
Written by Geoff Hartnell, Resident Farmer with G.O.D. Int'l