By: Caitlin Luck
Promoting agriculture education programs in a school-based setting is essential to maintaining a well-educated consumer base and increasing interest in potential careers within agriculture. Agriculture programs can take many forms depending on the needs of the community that it takes place within (natural resources, conservation, urban agriculture, food nutrition, etc.). What are the benefits of implementing these programs?
1. Creates responsible and well-educated consumers who form thoughtful viewpoints on various aspects of agriculture. Educated consumers ask questions, combat misconceptions, and make justified decisions for themselves and their families.
2. Agriculture education is a combination of experiential learning, leadership, and classroom/laboratory instruction. This balance of teaching techniques prepares students for work-based experiences and enhances applicable professional/technical skills.
3. Creating connections between agriculture and the food system allows students to better understand food nutrition and the importance of making healthy choices.
4. Exposes students to a variety of careers within the field of agriculture (sales, extension education, crop scientists, conservation officer, etc.) and provides opportunities to explore these positions.
5. Increases agricultural literacy and forms connections between how the food system works, who is involved, and the relationship between all of the components.
These reasons only touch the surface of what agriculture education has to offer learners, educators, and communities when it comes to connecting agriculture to consumers.