What do bees, butter, herbs, and tortillas have in common? They were all part of the University of Florida IFAS Extension Seminole County Farm to Fork 4-H Food Prep Camp. Youth ages 11-13 learned about science, agriculture, healthy eating and food preparation. Kids were able to experience extracting honey, making homemade ice cream, harvesting fresh herbs for vinaigrettes and pesto, and learning about growing methods and careers in agriculture. So what were some of the takeaways?
Importance of Agriculture
Agriculture touches every single person’s life in some way. Despite this, the average American has little or no knowledge of where their food comes from (Glassman, Elliot, & Knight, 2006). The youth today have limited knowledge of agriculture, believing that milk comes from the grocery store, rather than a cow (Boleman & Burrell, 2003). Most people today are three to four generations removed from the farm. However, youth of today are the decision-makers of tomorrow. Therefore, it is vital that people understand the origins of their food and their connection to agriculture. Knowledge about agriculture will help these future consumers make informed decisions for themselves, their families, and their communities. These youth are also our future voters and policy-makers, influencing policies that affect agriculture and our future food supply. Agriculture and food availability are influenced by regulations involving land use, land and water protection, labor laws, food safety, transportation and more.
Eating food in season means that the food is purchased and consumed around the time that it is harvested. Oftentimes, foods are freshest and tastiest when they are purchased directly from a local producer and shortly after harvest. Check out Seminole County’s Local Farms and Farmers Markets. It can also be more economical. To check the seasonality of Florida produce, visit the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services seasonal availability calendar.
Eating a variety of food fulfills multiple goals. First, eating different types of foods provide different types of nutrients. MyPlate emphasizes that it is important to eat from each of the five food groups: Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Protein Foods, and Dairy. In addition to the nutritional value to eating a variety of foods, it also helps to make meals more interesting. Healthy eating can reflect your preferences, traditions, culture and budget, especially when eating from each of the five food groups.
Whether you are 11 or 111, agriculture impacts us on a daily basis. Those between the ages of five and 18 may learn more through the UF IFAS Extension Seminole County 4-H program. Visit our website and follow us on Facebook or Instagram.