The Future of Our Food

Clyde+The+Goat%2C+at+Ledyard+High+School+
Clyde The Goat, at Ledyard High School

Clyde The Goat, at Ledyard High School

Clyde The Goat, at Ledyard High School

Abrielle Cunningham, Editor

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As people are becoming more conscious of where their food comes from, there has been a rise in local farmers’ markets. People enjoy fresh foods arriving at their dinner table, such as vegetables, fruits, and dairy products. However, with less than 2% of Americans working as farmers, and the average age of those farmers being 60 years, where is the future of our food heading? Places such as Stop and Shop, Aldi’s, and other grocery store chains, cannot rely on local farm stands to fill their hundreds of shelves. Though, with programs like The Future Farmers of America, farm stands, and passionate teachers, people are beginning to learn more about agriculture and the urgency of the nation’s farming epidemic.

 

The Future Farmers of America (FFA) was founded in 1928 in Kansas City and was founded on the idea that the public should be educated on agriculture. This included not only families of farmers, but also those who were fed and clothed by the nation’s farmers. The FFA is nationwide and prepares students to work in fields ranging from animals, plants, and sea creatures. According to the official FFA manual, the program not only prepares students for a job in agriculture, but it builds character, leadership, and employment skills. There are currently 197 students enrolled in the Ag-science program at Ledyard High School and one senior, Brianna Rich, believes that their school’s agriculture program prepares and teaches students how to lead and set up for a rewarding career in agriculture through social growth, communications and good decision making. Rich explained, “I think as a member of the FFA and a student studying agriculture, it is important to understand where the future of agriculture is heading. My school has definitely set me up for success for when I graduate this year.” The FFA manual also mentions that their program is diverse saying, “Agricultural education enrollment and FFA chapter membership should be representative of the diversity of the student body population.” The local FFA program has also set up events and has invited neighboring towns to visit and nationwide the FFA has proven to be inclusive with programs in the Western, Southern, Central, and Eastern regions.

 

Mark Grillo, a teacher of 35 years, works at Ledyard High School as an Agricultural Science teacher and believes is it almost dangerous that so many people are uneducated about agriculture and where the future of their food is heading. In order to have a strong civilization, it is important to first have a strong agricultural foundation. Grillo says, “We need to care! Agriculture is the foundation of our society.” Like many others, he believes that local farmers’ markets are beneficial to the community and bring attention to the work behind the making of their food and clothes. According to an NPR study, there has been a significant increase in these markets in not just rural areas but urban areas as well, “There were 8,268 farmers’ markets operating in 2014, up 180 percent since 2006.” Becky’s Farmstand and Fog Plain Gardens are just a few farm stands in this area that have brought freshness to the table and smiles to faces in the past years. Family owned and operated, Becky Scott bought the farmstand in 2013 and the stand is now getting their fall flowers and pumpkins ready for the season. Open 7 days a week from 10am-6pm Mon-Sat and 10am-5pm on Sunday, Becky’s Farmstand is just one of many destinations to visit this year.  

 

This fall, when visiting orchards, picking pumpkins, and baking pies, take time to appreciate local farmers. Recognize teachers and restaurants around you promoting the goodness of fresh food and agricultural education. The future is in our hands.

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About the Writer
Abrielle Cunningham, editor

Abrielle Cunningham is a second year journalism student and has a passion for writing. She would like to attend a college in a busy city and be a writer for a women’s magazine. One day she would like to attend New York Fashion Week and visit Europe. As for now, she is a senior at Waterford High School and participates in multiple clubs and enjoys macrame. Abrielle would also like to add that she is a professional smoothie maker.

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