Educating consumers on modern agricultural practices

Less than 2 percent of the U.S. population is directly involved in farming, resulting in a population largely unaware of where and how their food is produced. To help educate consumers, we’re developing a series of educationally entertaining videos.

At one time, 90 percent of the United States population was directly involved in some form of agricultural production activity. Many early U.S. presidents, for example, were either farmers or grew up on farms. However, today less than 2 percent of the U.S. population is directly involved in farming, resulting in a population with little idea how their food is produced and makes it to their table.

While consumers are often unfamiliar with what it takes to get food to the grocery store, there is evidence people are interested in where their food comes from. For example, a casual YouTube search yields all kinds of videos with all kinds of views on agriculture, with topics ranging the spectrum of production (with many equipment videos). This shows there is interest in agriculture from consumers, creating opportunities for the 2 percent involved in agriculture to educate the rest of the population.

Girl eating cherriesWith this in mind, Michigan State University Extension began producing a series of “farm to fork” videos. The main goal is to provide consumers with concise, fast-paced videos that are educational and entertaining, and will introduce them to modern food production practices. The first two are Michigan Pickles are the Real Dill and Michigan Cherries: Shaken, Not Stirred. Please take time to view them and share them with your non-farming friends.

The series will grow over time with videos on flower and juice grape production planned for 2018. Once there are enough, they will be assembled into a loop and offered to doctor’s offices and other places where people spend time waiting. They will also be available on the MSU YouTube channel for viewing as needed.

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