Give The Kid A Break

Why Agriculture Should Be Incorporated Into Middle School Curriculums

The first time I ever heard the term “citidiot”, I broke down crying in front of my computer screen. Nobody called me a citidiot to my face – I’d like to think that people are better than that. But making a joke about citidiots is about as bad. It’s not our fault – we can’t help it.

The picture was of a wheat field with one stalk taller than the rest. The caption: “Citidiots think this makes a nice picture.” Yeah, I thought it was a nice picture! It’s pretty, it follows the rules of photography, and the colors are well balanced. From where I was standing, it made a darn good picture! But, according to farmers, there’s a problem. Not one of your stalks can be taller than the rest. To this day, I still don’t know why that is. In my mind, it still makes a nice picture. The term “citidiot” cut deep.

I am the poster child for why agriculture needs to be taught in school. I’m talking about the basics of farming and where our food comes from in Ontario – not just about banana farmers in South America. Sure, I got the 30-minute lesson on why the $1 I spend on a banana doesn’t stretch all the way back to the grower. Yes, that’s important to realize, especially when talking about social sustainability. But what about the $1 I spend on an Ontario apple? Or a slab of beef? Or a carton of milk? Why shouldn’t I be learning about that in school? And not just about why the pesticides sprayed on tomatoes is going to give me cancer in 10 years. No, I’m talking about learning about the good people and practices behind the food I eat.

Food is unavoidable. The two things that everyone person must do in life are sleep and eat.  If food is such a huge part of our lives, let’s make sure that our youth know where their food is coming. I know that I’ve written about this topic a lot lately, but it’s essential to realize that suburban and urban people are missing the real-life connection to their food, and we have to find a way to make that connection through alternative methods. Teaching kids from the get-go that their chicken sandwich at lunchtime actually came from a farm in their province is a valuable way to get them to understand foundational agriculture.

So give the kid a break. He’s not a citidiot. He’s a student waiting for you to teach him.

Keep Calm and Farm On,

Emma — The Suburban Aggie

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