Tuesday, March 18, 2014

From Farm to Plate: What Our Children Don’t Know

Submitted by Tracy Zeorian, U.S. Custom Harvesters

My husband and I are custom harvesters. Every summer, we travel the highways of this country with our combine. We chase the ripening wheat from Texas to Montana, just as my grandparents did 65 years ago.

We return home to Nebraska each fall. When school is back in session, I work as a substitute bus driver. This one particular day had me navigating morning rush hour with a busload of 4th graders. We were heading downtown to a performing arts center to learn about sound, music and symphonic instruments.

We passed new tractors, planters, grain carts and even a combine, being hauled on trailers. I couldn’t help but think about the kids just behind my seat. They were too busy wondering what they’d have for lunch or what game their buddy was playing on his iPod. They didn’t even notice the farm equipment. Do they even know what they are? These kids come from a small town, and their school is next to a cornfield! It occurred to me that this generation really has no idea what it takes to get food on their plates.

Surrounding communities gathered together this day to learn about music. Why not gather children to learn about how food is produced? Instead of bassoons and oboes, they could learn about seeds and harvest. They could learn about calving and ranches and gardens and farmers.

 Food grown in America is the safest, highest quality food in the world, and our children need to know. They need to know what it takes to feed so many mouths. They need hands-on experiences and digging in the dirt to fully understand … before it’s too late.

"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn."
Benjamin Franklin