Posted October 5, 2023 at 11:38am by Kelly Dolan
Farm to Plate Releases a New Report on Agricultural Literacy
The Farm to Plate Agricultural Literacy Priority Strategy Team is excited to announce the release of a new report that seeks to answer important questions: What is agricultural literacy? Why does it matter? Who are the key stakeholders? And how can we strengthen agricultural literacy amongst Vermonters?
This effort was led by the Farm to Plate Agricultural Literacy Team and Shea Brams, a Farm to Plate intern through Middlebury College’s MiddWorks program. During summer 2023, 26 interviews were conducted with individuals from organizations around the state whose work intersects, either directly or indirectly, with agricultural literacy. As Brams relays in the report, the intention was to develop a deeper understanding of the term, how it is measured, and what we can do to reimagine and promote agricultural literacy amongst Vermonters:
To better understand research into agricultural literacy among the general public and school-aged children in the U.S. and Vermont. To identify trends and patterns, themes, or gaps within existing research on agricultural literacy.
This report closes out with suggestions for future research and key recommendations, which build upon those made in the Farm to Plate Issue Brief: Agricultural Literacy, K-12, and the Farm to Plate Issue Brief: Agricultural and Food Literacy.
- Investment in youth education programs in schools and on farms is vital to increasing agricultural literacy.
- Help farmers connect with customers to increase agricultural literacy for consumers.
- Support Vermont workforce development for food systems careers.
- Invest in equitable agricultural literacy programs and initiatives by targeting financial, cultural, and physical barriers.
- Support widespread agricultural literacy initiatives for more personal connection to the general public.
- Support each other in the agricultural literacy conversation.
As the agricultural landscape has shifted in Vermont, the Agricultural Literacy Priority Strategy Team has been reflecting on whether this impacts overall understanding of the importance of our state’s farming communities and consequently, behaviors. Can we anticipate whether greater agricultural literacy will, for example, impact an individual’s purchasing habits, likelihood to pursue an agriculturally based career, or support of policies tied to our state’s farming communities?
If you are interested in joining future conversations, please register for the Farm to Plate Agricultural Literacy Team. Questions? Email Kelly Dolan, Farm to Plate Network Manager: email@example.com
“Agricultural literacy is a piece of the answer to our survival. If we're going to live in balance, we need to understand how to work with the environment. And I think agricultural literacy and understanding the production of food in a balanced, healthy way, is a good way for us to understand our position in the ecosystem.” -Theresa Snow, Salvation Farms, Executive Director
“The goal is regardless of income, or transportation, or whatever barriers people may be experiencing, the hope is that we can develop affordable, accessible, inclusive programs that help people understand agriculture.” -Lisa Chase, University of Vermont, Vermont Tourism Research Center, Director
“Anything that we do to support the farm and food sector, increase visibility, increase market opportunities…it will all end up being in some way connected to education or awareness for consumers.” -Gina Clithero, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets
“Our resiliency as a human species is dependent upon agricultural literacy. On a community level, to be able to listen to people, hear people, and care for people…if you're not really caring for your body, or caring for the land, can you really care for each other and the community?” - Emma Hileman, Vermont Farmers Food Center
Image courtesy of Sarah Webb, Shelburne Farms