Kids are where it’s at. They are beautifully, comically impressionable. You can convince them of anything. If you tell them that purple monkeys live on the moon and make nightly visits to paint the backdrop of their dreams, they believe you. You can even convince them you are a super hero. Listen carefully, and you’ll hear our kids call Will, “Ironman.” (Although I do suspect they are clever enough at this age to have caught on.) But wait a minute, you say. These are our impressionable youth, we shouldn’t be making up fanciful stories for our amusement and at their expense. And for this, I will say, you are absolutely, 100% correct. Just remember Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny though. Ouch.
Point is, kids are primed for learning. And not just facts and figures; they are developing an ethos for life. It’s why parents around the world steep their children in their culture, values, and religious tenets. We attempt to shape their deepest held values to guide them safely into adulthood. It's our job.
So what does all this have to do with pizza anyway? You've probably already figured out that one of our deepest held values here at Pizza’zza is to provide you with great food, cooked with care, and sourced locally and sustainably. As I've written about here before, we believe that this ethic begins with children. If you teach children about good food and connect them with were it comes from, they will grow into adults who are good eaters, good stewards, and maybe even, good cooks. And that’s all well and good for us and our kids, and you and your kids, but what about all the other kids out there?
Fortunately Bellingham is lucky enough to have Common Threads Farm whose mission it is to make sure kids get a proper introduction to food. Eloquently, and in their own words: “At Common Threads, we grow good people, healthy food, and strong communities through hands-on, seed-to-table educational experiences.” More specifically, Common Threads provides garden and food education in many of Bellingham’s schools as well as operates on-farm summer camps, like Camp Pizza (sign us up!).
We at Pizza’zza think this is a pretty cool and important thing to do. So important that Pizza’zza was the first sponsor of Common Thread’s new business sponsorship program. The money donated by local businesses goes to ensure that no school is denied access to food and gardening education because of inability to pay. This new business sponsorship program ensures equity of access to food and gardening education for school children, regardless of the incomes of the folks in their neighborhood or which school they happen to attend. (If your business wants to get in on the action, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Our involvement goes beyond simple monetary contributions; Will donates his time to Common Threads Farm by serving on their board of directors. Yes, we love Common Threads that much. You see, Will and I are children of the 80s. Neon. Tight-rolled jeans. (Come on, admit it, you were once rad like that too.) Tang. Remember Tang? And Pringles. And Cheez Whiz. And L’eggo my Eggo. That was packaged-food heaven, and we grew up eating a lot of it. It was only in adulthood that we started to shift our eating and recognize real food’s profound connection to health, and it wasn’t until we had our own little plot of earth to dig in that we began to learn to grow our food. So, we thought, what would happen if we gave kids a short-cut, and they were raised on healthy, whole foods, and better yet, learned to grow and prepare those foods too? Would they grow into good eaters and develop skills that would last a lifetime?
We think so. Common Threads thinks so. We’re all betting that connecting our kids to where their food comes from, and building their skills for growing and cooking it, not only creates healthier kids, but makes for a more self-reliant, resilient future. Common Threads Farm helps us get there, and all we have to do is tell our kids the truth about food and let them get their hands dirty.