Summer steam-rolled into the Midwest with some serious heat waves, but the real signs of summer are school vacations, pool openings and farmer's markets. And the question on most parent's minds is what do we do now? How do we fill the time with activities centered around family and nature instead of TV and computer games?
This is a question asked by many with the increasing prevalence of conditions like childhood obesity and diabetes. The growing consensus is pointing fingers at the deadly combination of too much junk food and not enough out door, physical activities; especially those that take place in Nature.
During my childhood, most food was still cooked from scratch, using fresh ingredients and the whole neighborhood was considered "the back-yard". Climbing trees, games of "chase" and "tag", building forts in "the woods", and stomping through creeks--pocketing a shiny rock or two--were daily activities.
Sounds like I grew up in the country? Nope, right here in the inner suburbs of St. Louis. Neighborhoods weren't overdeveloped--still a lot of wild, green spaces--for a child to naturally integrate the wonders of a flora and fauna filled world. Days weren't over-structured--still a lot of time to naturally develop a relaxed, yet confident sense of the world's possibilities. One shiny, rock-filled pocket at a time.
In his 2005 book Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv coined the term "Nature Deficit Disorder", which refers to the alleged trend that children are spending less time in nature. New book, not a new concept--but given the declining wellness of today's children's--a more urgent concern.
In 1882, Daniel C Beard, one of the co-founder's of the Boy Scouts, wrote The American Boy's Handy Book to address the very issues we're facing today.We're fortunate that so many families, organizations and even schools are adopting programs which combine healthy eating and outdoor activities.
The rise in community based Farmers Markets is another option which provides a natural solution. Not only to the question of what to do this summer--but to the dilemma facing our nation about our children's well-being.
Locally grown, food offered at the peak of freshness in an outdoor neighborhood setting where friends gather and children play--are the ingredients for a healthy, vibrant community. Simply toss in a little live music, sprinkle with a few shiny wild things (for pockets) and serve with a walk or a bike ride.
Here's what's happening in the Clayton Farmer's Market's backyard this Saturday. You're welcome to join us anytime!
Music at Ten: The Folk School playing Old Time Music Children's Activity: St. Louis County Library Bethesda Barclay House Community Tent: Micro Solar Grid
Peaches are arriving from the South--and we don't mean Georgia!
Hunt's Harvesting, Orchards and Farms are bringing the first of the season's Peaches from the Shawnee Hills of southern Illinois.
THESE FOLKS ARE COOKING UP SOMETHING GOOD TO EAT
Pull up a chair, sit a spell---and prepare to be delighted!
Straub's Smoked BBQ with mouth-watering, wood smoked meats Waffle-licious serving authentic Belgium waffles with fresh toppings The Farmer's Larder grilling delicious made to order Market Sandwiches Cool Delights debuting refreshing Sno-Cones for hot summer days