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girl in garden“The healthiest food,” wrote author Wendell Berry, “is the shortest distance from the earth to your mouth.”

Often, the food we serve to our children is a long way from the earth – perhaps even thousands of miles away. Take your typical soup. The vegetables and fruit might be harvested overseas or in California, the soup might be processed in large facility, again, many hundreds of miles away. In order to keep the soup fresh, it is often laced with flavour enhancers and preservatives – then it is hermetically sealed in cellophane or vacuumed sealed in a can. Next, our can of soup journeys to another location – a warehouse where it awaits distribution and finally it ends up on your grocery shelf. The soup can you opened and served to your child bears little resemblance to the food it once was.

At Camp Kawartha, we believe it is important for children to know where their food comes from. We want them, as Wendell Berry suggests – to taste the freshness of food right from where it was harvested. There is something magical in the crunch of a carrot that has been pulled up from the moist earth. Or the pungent aroma of a herb plucked straight from the plant. We want our visitors to build a relationship with their food. That is why our food is close at hand. We have a solar, strawbale greenhouse that can grow herbs and vegetables year round as well as an organic garden. Campers are involved in harvesting food for their own meals.

In our Dining Hall, we have a map and poster of all of our local food suppliers. Also, we have information on each of the small operations that provide our campers with local produce, dairy and meat. We’ll say, “Hey today’s lunch came to you courtesy of Trayner meats or Circle Organics.” We’ll explain about the local businesses that supply our camp with food and we’ll remark on the produce harvested from our very own gardens. In the end, we want kids to know that it is our farmers that nourish us. Let’s give them the thanks that they deserve.

Article published in the Cottage Country Connection

Submitted by Jacob Rodenburg, Executive Director of Camp Kawartha.