On Teaching Food and Farming…

If you join one of my Junior Agriculture or Home Economics classes, you can’t escape the conversation about agriculture!! I won’t ever “bash” you over the head with facts or attempt to bore you. I just encourage you as a student to begin to reflect a little more and to hopefully engage your curiosity further …

In Home Economics we focus on the needs of the individual and family and the community. Food is something that nourishes and sustains us. Many of us spend a great deal of time buying it, preparing it  and we all have to eat. It would be possible, but reckless of me to let you think it all just came from a store or supermarket!  And yet I still commonly encounter students who are not sure what butter really is or that beef is from cattle. No one is made to feel silly; I consider it an honor to help you to find out more.

Upon commencing Agriculture, I ask my students for the “truth” as to why they joined the class. The reasons are varied and interesting. Last year they included such reasons as –

* It’s fun to work with your hands.

* This is a slacko subject!

* You don’t have to do much writing.

* You learn about fun stuff.

* You get to play with animals.

* You learn about farming.

I tell students at the start, that even if they are not interested in considering a career in Agriculture, that at the very least, they will come out with a new perspective on the importance of Agriculture to our everyday existence. We simply can’t survive without it.

Some are disappointed to learn that there is writing involved, as well as practical activities and soon most realise it can be great fun without being “slacko”. It is wonderful to watch the deeper conversations evolve from students who may not have thought of themselves as “smart”, and the questions that come tumbling out when exploring different aspects of the subject.

I don’t always have the answers, and I’m not afraid to admit that, which is why we love farming mentors, but I’ll lead all you potential farmers into that next time…..

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