The movement to institute required agriculture classes in American public schools is small, but strong.
Many high schools, especially in farming communities, have or offer agriculture classes. But for younger kids, and for kids in cities and suburbs, agriculture education is completely overlooked. That’s beginning to change.
A new pilot program in the state of Georgia will find 20 elementary schools embarking on a three-year agriculture education adventure. This follows a 2017 agreement between USDA secretary Sonny Perdue and the Future Farmers of America, an influential force for agriculture education in the US, but was put into motion thanks to a Georgia state bill.
The classes will include lessons about food and where it comes from, plant and animal science, conservation and the environment, and the agriculture industry and jobs within it, according to WABE, the Atlanta NPR affiliate.
Agriculture education has long been a huge missing piece of public education in this country. What could be more important than learning about all of the thousands of threads connected to farming? Agriculture education includes science, math, business, environmental studies, social studies, history, engineering—and, of course, it affects what kids eat, what they wear, and how they live. The Georgia pilot program is a great start towards making sure that the next generation understands what agriculture is, so they can continue taking it forward.