That is exactly what Skyler Strickland did this school year!
Skyler is a 3rd grade student at Bunnell Elementary School and she grew the largest cabbage in her school’s 2018 Bonnie Cabbage Contest. The program is provided by a partnership with the school, Bonnie Plant Company, and Flagler County 4-H. Over the last few months of the school year, students worked with their teacher, Cathie Zanella, to learn about plant care in their school garden and agriculture. The program was supported by Flagler County Farm Bureau who provided the contest winner with $100 scholarship.
This project is important to students in Flagler County and across the state because it improves agriculture literacy through a fun learning environment. Agriculture can be defined as the science or practice of farming, including cultivation of soil for the growing of crops and the rearing of animals to provide food, wool, and other products.
Many students do not know the source of their food beyond the grocery store.
These types of projects are important because the nation is experiencing a time when the general public is several generations removed from the agriculture industry. . This has resulted in fear and distrust of agriculture and a gap in qualified people to fill agriculture jobs.
In 1900, 40% of the U.S. workforce was involved in agriculture production compared to 2% of the U.S. workforce being involved in agriculture today. The advancements in farming and technology have allowed for growers to provide more food on a smaller acreage with less inputs. . Purdue University recently released a report showing that each year 25,000 agriculture jobs go unfilled because there are not enough qualified applicants. There is also a 30 year trend that shows the average age of a farmer is on the rise and the current average age is 58.
The population is projected to grow to over 9 billion people by the year 2050. This will require a new generation of STEM trained professionals to face the challenges of feeding the world and making agriculture more transparent, efficient, and productive. Community partners invest in students like Skyler and projects like the Bonnie Plant Program at Bunnell Elementary School to increase agriculture literacy and introduce youth to the possibility of a future in agriculture. Learning to feed the world one cabbage at a time.
If you are interested in joining in or volunteering for Flagler County 4H Youth Development Program, please visit http://florida4h.org/ flagler.ifas.ufl.edu, and contact Amy Warwick Hedstrom at email@example.com or 386-437-7464