“My grandfather used to say that once in your life you need a doctor, lawyer, policeman and a preacher; but everyday, three times a day, you need a farmer” Brenda Schoepp
As of May 2016, the Australian Agricultural Industry employed just over 320,000 people or 1.5% of Australians, in jobs directly related with food production. These farmers, labourers, shearers, stock handlers, breeders, scientists and agronomists to name a few, are responsible for feeding over 70,000,000 people worldwide! How’s that for growing an impact.
Even more amazing is that agriculture now has the highest growth rate of any industry 8.3%, and earning a record breaking $63.4 billion for the Australian economy. Fiona Simson, head of the National Farmers Federation said “ag might be the new black”.
Australians are lucky enough to enjoy some of the best food going around, with the safety and quality of our grain, beef and cotton making it highly sought after around the world: Udon noodles in Japan, bread in Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia, to noodles, beef and bread in China – the ‘Made in Australia’ branding a key selling point in distinguished restaurants. I know I often take this quality for granted!
Yet because 66% of us live in the urban area we often miss out on meeting those responsible for our meals and the 69,999,999 others relying on Australian farmers each day. Back in the early days, when farms were smaller, rural towns more populated and many people closer descendants of farmers, the connection with the land was more prominent. So how do urban Australians rediscover that connection?
The first step is education on provenance and process.
Internet, technology and social media allows people to be closer to the country than ever before. Farmers are one of the most active groups of users on twitter, providing a fantastic opportunity to connect. It must be remembered that connection is a two way street. Farmers and urban consumers have much to learn from each other for the benefit of all.
Many consumers may now be beginning to understand the origins of their Saturday morning brunch, the daily toast or the lunchtime avocado and salad sandwich as packaging and marketing campaigns aim to focus on advertising local produce and its benefits in quality. But do you know when and how the avocado was grown and picked? Or the labour intensive process of producing edible quinoa on those quinoa-based eggs benedict?
If not, well that’s what AgriEducate is here for! It is an exciting prospect informing people about something they never even considered – take this xkcd comic as an example. I for sure, love learning new things everyday!