The Ag-Ed Divide

I am in incredibly high spirits this week! Despite the cold and sometimes miserable weather, school is back in session. (And as you may know, I LOVE school!) This semester, one of my courses is Meat and Poultry Processing. I get to learn about what happens to our meat after slaughter, and how meat products are produced such as salami, sausage, chicken nuggets, and more. We even get to make some products in our labs!

As we were going around the class and introducing ourselves, one classmate said something that really caught my attention. She noted that, as an ag science student, there was a huge gap in learning in our program. She mentioned that she can raise an animal and care for it properly, all the way up until slaughter, but after that she has no idea what happens to the meat. Meanwhile, the food science students in the class were the exact opposite – they knew all about various meat products and processing methods, but nothing about how the animal gets to that stage.

It never really occurred to me until that moment, but I’m in the same boat. I’ve learned a lot about how ag systems work, but not a lot about food systems. The further along that I get in my education, there more I’ve learned that ag and food seem to be entirely separate systems that rely heavily on each other. How come I’m only learning about one of the two? I’m not sure if this experience is entirely universal for all ag students, but it certainly got me thinking about what we can include in our education to make sure we have more rounded knowledge of how our food gets to the table.

Emma — The Suburban Aggie

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2 thoughts on “The Ag-Ed Divide

  1. Right?! I didn’t realize this until I was well out of school. And when I look back at who recruited at Guelph – ag production companies recruited aggies and food companies recruited from Food Science (except Maple Leaf Foods – they seemed to recruit from everyone). How come our education stopped at the farm gate? More understanding up and down the value-chain is critical to better collaboration and sustainability!

    • Definitely! Especially when it comes to educating consumers. How can we have conversations about our food and production if we only know half the story? I’m glad for the chance of learning about food production and to learn from the food science students!

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