Agriculture: Not an Old-School Class Anymore
The future of food is in our hands! Like many age-old traditions, the time is coming for one generation to pass the farming torch to the next and entrust in them the future of all humanity! While 15% of Americans currently have jobs in agriculture, the average age of the U.S. farmer is 58 years old, which means that many farmers will be retiring in the coming years. Additionally, recent reports have shown a low number of young people are entering the farming business. If these trends continue, a farmer shortage could endanger our food supply. Fortunately, there is a promising solution: teaching agriculture in school!
Agriculture classes are gaining popularity (predominantly in rural schools) and benefit students by not only preparing them to work in the food sector, but also helping them to apply their mathematics and science skills. Minnesota has been in the forefront of this movement and many teachers have reported that agriculture classes are popular due to the interactive nature of the class. With activities ranging from working in greenhouses to helping tend to beehives, it is no surprise that agriculture class enrollment has been on the rise. The state even went as far as to pass legislation to help encourage young farmers by making land and training more affordable.
What's even better is that the U.S. is not alone! The Philippines is currently considering legislation that would make teaching agriculture in schools a requirement, while countries such as Kenya, Australia, and Jamaica have previously debated the prospect. Through these discussions, it is becoming globally recognized that an agriculturally-aware generation is crucial for the future of food. Hopefully, these classes will inspire the next generation of farmers!
Photo courtesy of NPR