This spring, MFC has been teaching 3rd-5th grade students all about bugs.
Now, you may ask, how does learning about bugs teach my kids about healthy eating? Are they eating bugs in class?
Do not fear, your children are not being taught to eat bugs. They are, however, learning all about how bugs play a very important role in supporting the lives of plants we grow in the gardens we use to make fresh, healthy meals.
While some bugs can damage the plants we eat, others are beneficial to plants, and play an important role in our gardens and farms.
For example, earthworms are beneficial to a garden or farm because they fertilize the soil. By ingesting rough soil particles, and converting these particles into a fine, nutrient rich paste, earthworms help supply plants with the nutrients they need to grow. Earthworms also benefit a growing environment by burrowing into the ground, creating tunnels that allow for air and water to move through the soil.
As for other insects that are beneficial to plants, they can easily be grouped into two categories, pollinators and insectivores.
Pollinators carry pollen between two plants, and allows the reproduction process between plants to occur. The most notable pollinator is the honey bee, which is responsible for pollinating 1/3 of the plants we eat, including broccoli, onions, beets, watermelons, you name it!
Insectivores are insects whose diets consist of eating mostly other insects. These bugs are important for gardens because they eat bugs that are not beneficial to the plants we eat. Bugs that are bad for plants are called pests, and they cause damage to plants and their surrounding environments by eating plants and spreading germs. Instead of using pesticides to combat these bothersome bugs, organic farmers put insectivores in their gardens, so the good bugs (insectivores) can eat the bad bugs (pests), and the farmer has a natural solution to a very pesky problem.
Ask your kids for other fun facts about bugs they learned in class!