77% of city teenagers know little or nothing about farming and food production, from a recent survey of 600 students aged 15 to 18
We all know that Australia produces some of the finest produce in the world, but do we know where this food actually comes from and how it gets on to our forks?
Figures from a recent survey of 600 students aged 15 to 18 which was commissioned by Rabobank, found that 77% of city teenagers know little or nothing about farming and food production.
If we want our children and our children’s children to be able to enjoy the same supply of fresh food that we have, then Aussie farmers need our support.
These are the 7 common misconceptions about farming and food production from Aussie children
1. Cotton comes from an animal - this is a big one!
2. Yoghurt is a plant product and comes from trees
3. Tomatoes grow under the ground
4. Strawberries grow inside the fridge
5. Carrots grow on a bush
6. Flour is its own ingredient and comes from a packet
7. Seasonal food does not exist (for example, you should be able to buy apples and avocados all year round)
How to explain farming and food production in a language understandable to children
The national From Paddock to Plate Schools Program explains farming and food production by using virtual excursions filmed on farms around Australia that follow the ‘from paddock to plate’ journeys of a variety of foods. Visuals have far more impact than words for children in understanding where their food comes from and how it is produced.
Excursions to commercial farming enterprises are difficult for teachers to organise for many reasons. Virtual excursions solve this problem by taking the students on an “excursion” without having to leave the classroom. Explanations need to be practical, contextual and include real life examples for children to form a solid rapport with farmers, farming and food production.
How to let our children understand the importance of supporting local farmers
Mapping food miles of a local product versus a foreign product is a great exercise to highlight to children how far certain foods travel before they eat them. Children can find local food producers using the Paddock to Plate App.
In conjunction with tasting these foods, for example freshly picked fruit and vegetables versus cold storage, children are able to understand why it’s important to support local farmers by buying locally produced food. Not only does the food taste great and have higher nutritional value, the money is staying local and the carbon footprint is significantly reduced.
ABOUT ’From Farm to Fork’ (FF2F)
The ‘From Farm to Fork’ launch will be hosted by Louise FitzRoy, a Walkley Award-winning journalist and food writer, who has developed a program that educates children about the origin of their food. The event will feature some of the best sustainable food from the land, stalls to buy or taste homemade products straight from the farm, opportunities to meet and hear from the farmers, a petting zoo for kids and even a mechanical bull!
Landcare Australian in partnership with the Primary Industries Education Foundation Australia (PIEFA) launched Landcare into the Australian Curriculum this year. Funds from ‘From Farm to Fork’ will help bridge the city-rural divide by developing these resources and dedicate some funding to a program run by Louise FitzRoy called Paddock to Plate.