Mar 28, 2020 11:19AM
By John Gales
7 ag-focused ways to get involved
From the food on your table to the clothes on your back, agriculture provides a variety of things you eat, wear and use daily. Those items don’t magically arrive at the store or appear in your home, however.
Each American farmer feeds about 165 people, according to the Agriculture Council of America, an organization comprised of leaders in the agriculture, food and fiber communities dedicated to increasing public awareness of agriculture’s role in modern society. Learning more about the industry can allow individuals to make more informed choices about everything from their diets to legislation.
In honor of the 47th annual National Ag Day with the theme “Food Brings
Everyone to the Table,” consider these activities that can help you learn more about how the agriculture industry impacts daily life.
Make a Farm-to-Table Meal
Making a meal together is an easy activity for spending quality time with your entire family, but you can turn it into a learning experience and an opportunity to talk about where food comes from by combining seasonal produce like asparagus, peas, broccoli, oranges and lemons with ingredients your state is known for such as pork, apples, almonds, beef or corn, for example.
Research Agricultural Issues
From climate change and protecting air, soil and water to feeding a growing global population and using technology to improve food production, there are a variety of issues facing the agriculture industry. To be more aware of what the future may hold, consider making yourself more familiar with some of the challenges farmers face.
Consider Agricultural Careers
For students and young adults considering their futures, joining the 22 million people who work in agriculture-related fields can be a rewarding pursuit. While the most obvious careers in agriculture are directly related to the farm or ranch, today’s agriculture offers more than 200 careers from research and engineering to food science, landscape architecture, urban planning and more.
Tour a Local Farm or Dairy
Taking a tour of a farm or dairy (or both) can provide a better understanding of how food and fiber products are produced and the role agriculture plays in producing them. Make it a group outing with friends or family to help more people see the process food goes through from production to sitting on store shelves.
Contact Legislators in Support of Farm and Food Initiatives
The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 created reform for United States Department of Agriculture programs through 2023. To get more hands-on, you can contact your legislators to show support for farming initiatives like local FFA and 4-H programs as well as those that can help improve opportunities for farmland leasing, subsidies, urban gardening, food hubs and other ag-focused resources and operations.
Visit a Farmers Market
Open seasonally, farmers markets can provide a perfect opportunity to get up close and personal with your food and the people who grow it. Prices are usually competitive with traditional grocery stores and oftentimes better, plus some markets offer free samples as well as music and games so you can make an event out of picking up some fresh produce to use in family meals.
Volunteer at a Community Garden
Many cities and neighborhoods, even those in more urban areas, provide plots of land community members can use to grow food for themselves or to donate within the community. Consider setting aside some time each week to give back by cleaning out flower beds, laying mulch or planting flowers and crops in the designated areas.
Find more ways to celebrate agriculture at agday.org.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images