THIS PAST SPRING, we were able to take our kids to a local farm for u-pick blueberries. It was a nice pre-summer day — breezy, but still hot by non-Floridian standards. Still, it was just right for us Sunshine State natives. We had them out with hats, plenty of sun-block, and ready for lots of berry-picking.
Our kids are pretty young, and as this was their first trip to a u-pick, it really opened their eyes to the food chain process. I was able to explain to them how fruits and vegetables get from the plant to the grocery store, then finally into our refrigerator. Through a simple afternoon outing, our kids are suddenly enlightened with knowledge of how food gets from the farm to the table.
You might be asking yourself why it’s so significant for a child to understand this concept, and my answer to that is simple: planting the seeds of knowledge bears the fruit of responsibility. If I, as a parent, don’t teach my children how they get their food, then how will they grow to be responsible caretakers of their land, or informed consumers at the grocery store?
A local FFA Chapter member in this edition makes the observation that “there’s a place in ag for each of us,” and I couldn’t agree more. As you read in this edition about how growers are diversifying their farms with alternative crops, you may also read about some agri-education opportunities for you and your children. One of them is the FFA Corner on page 33 (of our August 2015 magazine), where this edition’s Ag Time with Abby talks about the many learning opportunities through groups like your local FFA Chapter, Ag electives at your school, and local 4-H clubs. Also, our cattle feature on page 8 talks about a great way to see a Florida Cracker calf in-person, and learn more about this heritage breed. Last, but not least, youngsters can dive into the world of equines while fostering a love for reading with the adventures of “Mullikin the Horse and Friends” on page 18.
If you’re looking for more ways to teach your kids about agriculture, then I encourage you to check with your local school, 4-H Club, and FFA Chapters. And of course, make sure they read every edition of Central Florida Ag News!
column by CELESTE JO WALLS
Celeste Jo Walls is managing editor of Central Florida Ag News. She may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.