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Food Stories From Our Grandparents & Giving Thanks

The themes of food and family are strong for many as we enter the last months of the year and holiday celebrations. In November we normally highlight our Thanksgiving for Farmers lesson plan. It is one of our favorites as it is a great reminder to give thanks to those who grow our food. 
This year we would also like to shine a spotlight on another opportunity for giving thanks- grandparents. Whether they are grandparents of the family we were born into or not, older generations have traditionally been the keepers of a family’s food story. The stories are full of recipes, cooking tips and tricks, and memories of cooking. In their presence a recipe often becomes more than just measurements and ingredients, it becomes a set of directions unique to the family.
One of our Growing Minds team members looked through old family recipes passed down to her and found directions like, “tear the bread into pieces the size that your five year old hands would have torn them into”. And with that description, not only did she know exactly how small to tear the bread, but also remembered preparing that same recipe when she was five years old in her family’s kitchen.
Personalize farm and food connections by finding ways to integrate family food stories into your work. Community meals and recipe books featuring family recipes are always a favorite. This month’s featured books are great conversation starters for recalling family and food stories. Watch one of our favorite farm to school projects where students at Pinnacle Elementary in Rutherford County, NC interviewed their parents and grandparents about farming, their favorite vegetable, and their favorite recipe as part of the school’s Food Awareness Day.

Here are a some of our favorite books featuring grandparents sharing their gardening knowledge:

“Bluebird Summer” by Deborah Hopkinson
Grandpa’s Garden” by Stella Fry
And The Good Brown Earth” by Kathy Henderson
How Does My Garden Grow?” by Gerda Muller
Watermelon Wishes” by Lisa Moser
Yucky Worms” by Vivian French

Find more children’s literature recommendations at

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