Ag Lit Bit
My children travel a great deal and I often live vicariously through them as the thought of a 15+ hour flight doesn’t seem enjoyable to me any longer. I feel a sense of pride that something we did along the way inspired their love of travel and curiosity to learn about other cultures in the world.
When they return from their trips it is interesting to hear about their adventures which always include food experiences typically “locally grown and sourced”. They don’t have to look far to understand where the food comes from as “supermarkets” are usually not part of the landscape.
As my one son was in Pursat, Cambodia, he stayed with a family and shared, “I saw how people without running water, refrigeration, or grocery stores live locally and off the land. Ice for cooling was cut from long blocks on the bed of a pickup truck; protein came from their pigs and chickens raised in the back yard; papaya, bananas and coconut trees grew around the house; and rice was harvested throughout the village and sold in the market about a mile away. Almost nothing is processed/packaged and little wasted (thanks to the pigs’ voracious appetites).”
Their trips are a wonderful way to learn about new foods and connect some of the things they see in our stores with where they are grown.
As Ag in the Classroom prepares our summer programs, we will be focusing our efforts on educating youth about agriculture and the farmers who grow the food. You don’t have to travel the world to gain access to fresh food, but it can be difficult to understand how food grows when you are not near a farm, do not have a home garden or may not have easy access to a farmers’ market or fresh produce.
During our programs, we may even steal some of our favorite lessons from Mr. Greg Stack who blows everyone away with his match the plant with the by-product game which educate adults and kids on the connection between a plant and food item. He brings the concepts to life with lemon trees, coffee plants, raspberry plants and papaya plants to name just a few. The success rate of matching the plant to the product is usually around the 50th percentile showing how little we know about how our food grows.
We’re excited to expand some minds this summer and learn from others along the way. Happy travels to you this summer whether it’s to your local library or far-away places. Share any interesting foods you experience by emailing me at [email protected].