Around the country the education pendulum is swinging back toward our amber waves of grain. For too long learning about agriculture was siloed, sequestered to the few students actually desiring to pursue agricultural careers. Canada and many of our states now celebrate an agricultural literacy week to encourage more dialogue. Vermont’s Agency of Agriculture, NOFA/VT and others have organized events for next week, including a Market and demonstration launch at the Chandler.
We contemplate this stuff all the time. In part because of our own mid-career quests and discoveries, also due to your great observations and questions, not to mention those of Mrs. Morvan’s 1st grade class with whom we have formal correspondence. We are thrilled that our nephew and his class of 2018 at George Washington University are reading The Good Food Revolution by Will Allen. All these bits of exposure and deep probes will not only help farms like ours but could bring folks more health and enjoyment.
When we were launching the Slice of Life workshop series Judith (co-owner of Fat Toad Farm) noted, “As Vermonters we look for ways to enjoy and share the satisfaction of life in a rural, agricultural community. Increasingly people hunger for authentic experiences –ways to relax and recreate… We formed the Floating Bridge Food and Farms Cooperative so people can access a slice of this life –experience small farm living, locally raised products, and the seasonal beauty of Vermont’s working agricultural landscape.”
We weren’t focused on agricultural literacy per se, we simply knew that hands-on farm experiences that were common in our youth are harder and harder to come by. And we know the more we learn about agriculture the better care we take with our own health and that of our planet.
As Secretary Ross (Vermont Agency of Agriculture) says “We have grown distant from farms. The connection between the food on our tables, the economy, the ecology and the farmers who produce it is fundamental. The Slice of Life series will enable Vermonters and visitors to deepen their appreciation of our fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers and encourage them to fill their pantries and suitcases.”
Enjoy Ag Literacy week however you choose – by sharing a farm fresh meal, with a trip to a farm or join us at Randolph’s Chandler Theater for some hands on learning (and eating!) on Saturday.
*Agricultural Literacy: (from Iowa Department of Agriculture) An agriculturally literate person would understand the food and fiber system and this would include its history and its current economic, social and environmental significance to all Americans.