You’d never know it from a trip to the grocery store, but Eliza Greenman estimates that there are at least ~7,000 different named varieties of apples in the U.S. Join Food Sleuth Radio host and Registered Dietitian, Melinda Hemmelgarn, for her interview with Greenman, who describes her work with heirloom apples as a “wild frontier.” She hopes to protect and promote apple diversity, and teach young farmers how to raise food sustainably. Greenman is also the Director of Biodiversity for the Greenhorns, a non-profit organization made up of young farmers, to recruit, promote and support the new generation of farmers. She questions whether the education our young farmers receive matches the needs of the planet. Greenman describes her unsettling experience at the annual Future Farmers of America (FFA) convention in KY, and calls for a different model of education.
Greenhorns, in partnership with Organic Consumers Association were in attendance last month at the national gathering of the FFA. The FFA National Convention in Louisville, Kentucky, saw a sea of 60,000 students representing every nook and cranny of America (and its territories) gathered together for fellowship, belonging, education and scholarly competition. Between the ages of 13 and 18, many of these students are next-in-line to the family farm and occupy a strategically powerful position in the future of American Agriculture; they are kids with land. With a self-confidence rarely seen in teenagers and impeccable public speaking skills, these students in their blue corduroy jackets cut quite the impressive figure, particularly in a stadium context.
They are team-spirited, motivated and articulate, and most of them credit these qualities to the organization that brought them together, the FFA. The FFA is turning these next-in-line farmers, agriscientists, ag teachers and farm sympathizers into successful leaders, fierce entrepreneurs, and good Samaritans…for Big Ag.
This polished youth constituency at the FFA sing the praises, almost exclusively, of Big Ag. How did this happen? Lets start with the obvious place; let’s follow the money.
This video is the first thing you see when you click on the EXPO page of the National Future Farmers of America (FFA) website. This video has nothing to do with agriculture and everything to do with image. It’s the women’s version of the Marlboro Man.
Is this the right role model for these future farmers?
coming to us (and many of you, quite likely) via Comfood
The “Nutrients for Life” nonprofit goal is to “…disseminate educational information to the general public, including policy makers, about fertilizers, modern agriculture and the role plant nutrients serve in improving people’s lives.”
This project, for just 3 states: The goal of the Helping Communities Grow chapter recognition program is to give FFA chapters the opportunity to help their communities become better informed about the positive role of plant nutrients, fertilizers and related agricultural issues through educational, community building and hands-on activities. Continue reading
Off the Farm, Into the City
By Judy Keen, USA TODAY
Hall, 18, is among 30 high-school students who belong to the FFA chapter at Clyde C. Miller Career Academy here. FFA is part of the curriculum in the school’s biotechnology “pathway” that’s preparing him for a job in the agriculture industry.
“It’s something a lot of people wouldn’t expect for urban kids,” says Hall, who has fallen in love with plants and last summer helped his family plant their first vegetable garden. He plans to become a horticulturist and is an intern at Monsanto, a St. Louis-based seed company.
Read the full article HERE
The FFA will be featured on the 75-foot-long RFD-TV float in the Jan. 1 Tournament of Roses parade, saluting that organization’s role in developing careers for youth.
A feature before that date might be a timely way to remind everyone that agriculture today makes the best use of technological advances, and that FFA members are preparing for careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture. Continue reading
Another side of the young farmers scene…
Future Farmers of America – Founded in 1928, the Future Farmers of America brought together students, teachers and agribusiness to solidify support for agricultural education. In Kansas City’s Baltimore Hotel, 33 young farmboys charted a course for the future. They could not have foreseen how the organization would grow and thrive. Since 1928, millions of agriculture students – no one knows exactly how many – have donned the official FFA jacket and championed the FFA creed. FFA has opened its doors and its arms to minorities and women, ensuring that all students could reap the benefits of agricultural education.
**And, they have a themesong!
And Sponsors! Including: Cargill, ADM, Dupont, Oscar Meyer, Smithfield, Bayer, and “platinum” sponsor, you guessed it – Monsanto.