Agricultural literacy and food literacy are important because increased knowledge of agriculture and food can help Vermonters make informed choices, as both consumers and civic actors, that support their health, their communities, and the environment. A variety of barriers currently prevent us from achieving an economically robust food system that provides dignified compensation for its producers and workers, protects the environment, and produces healthy products for consumers. One barrier is a culture of cheap food that prioritizes low prices at the expense of social and environmental values. Culture is a complex and dynamic system, subject to change as new information, new values, and new frameworks emerge and gain popularity. While knowledge alone will not result in immediate changes to our food system, it is a key ingredient: knowledge contributes to attitudes, social norms, purchasing habits, and, eventually, policy. The ongoing disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic shine a spotlight on national food supply chains, and more consumers are understanding the vulnerabilities of the existing food system.
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