Agriculture As A Required School Subject Is Gaining Popularity
A recent speech from the Agriculture Secretary in the Philippines suggests that the country is going to take a serious look at required agriculture classes in public schools. Other countries are doing the same. Will the U.S. follow suit?
“We have been proposing for DepEd to include agriculture subjects, simple agriculture, in the curriculum of public schools from elementary to high school,” said secretary Emmanuel Piñol, reports Rappler.
The Philippines aren’t alone—more and more countries are realizing that teaching kids the basics of where their food comes from, along with how the vital industry operates, might be a good idea.
Australia, for example, frequently offers agricultural subjects despite their not being a pre-requisite for their universities. Agriculture is a key part of primary and secondary schooling in Kenya. And in the US, baby steps appear to be underway.
On July 26th, USDA secretary Sonny Perdue announced a partnership with FFA, perhaps the biggest and most vocal proponents of agriculture education in America. (FFA technically stands for “Future Farmers of America,” but for some reason they downplay that name and prefer to be called simply FFA.) Perdue and Mark Poeschl, the CEO of FFA, signed a memorandum of understanding, essentially a grandiose handshake, in which Perdue committed the USDA to work with FFA on matters of connecting young people with agriculture.
Perdue’s relationship with public education is complex; he’s come under fire for attempting to remove healthy food requirements from school lunches. And Perdue’s “memorandum of understanding” is not nearly as strong a commitment as Piñol’s statement. That said, FFA is a strong lobbying power. We’ll just have to wait and see.