That is what my fellowship has been to me. Such an amazing event that is launching how I think about the content that we teach. This opportunity provided real world context as well as a broadened understanding of the importance of agriculture. In all my years as a teacher, I rarely used the science, math, or technological connections that are ever present in the agricultural world. How did I not see how complex farming is? I grew up in southwest Michigan, in a region rich with farm land, just east of the fruit belt. Upon moving to North Carolina, our little rural school neighboring a cotton field, across the street from peanuts, and has tobacco down the street. Of course I eat food daily, but never made the connection to our need, as humans and consumers, to AgVocate and bring Ag into the classroom.
We always talked about those math problems about a farm, and felt it was so removed from our urban students’ lives in Wake county. However, Ag affects us all in every aspect of our lives. The food we eat, the availability of water, accessibility to products in the store, expectations for that perfect huge strawberry, but concern for those dreaded GMOs (more on that later). Even beyond the food, what about all the materials we use in our yards, on the golf courses, the textiles from ag products, and so much more. How could I ever think that farming was irrelevant to my students? Instead, I should have explored how to help my students connect.
Agvocate about GMOs. This has quickly become a hot topic in conversation, and I am amazing to hear students internalize these opinions and vocalize them at the lunch table. Did you know, that GMO has been happening for centuries? One of the most common examples of a natural GMO is a sweet potato. Years ago, it was discovered that plants could be genetically modified using agrobacterium, in an effort to introduce favorable genes to support plant growth. That was it, plain and simple. Helping corn have stronger roots, or soybeans to resist certain bests, even helping plants be just a little more drought resistant. I cannot stress the importance of doing research. The employees at Bayer (especially the scientists) are eager to share that this is science and nature, plain and simple. They are proud of the work they are doing, to combat world hunger and the challenge that future generations of mankind will certainly face.
9 billion people in 2050. How will we feed them? Agvocate.