Recently I completed reading Reclaiming Our Food: How the Grassroots Food Movement Is Changing the Way We Eat by Tanya Denckla Cobb.
First the book was a gift by Tanya, because I spoke to her graduate class at UVA in June. There were four of us speaking to the class, and each of us knew each other. Libby is the manager of the Williamsburg Farmer’s Market;Elizabethis the manager of the Spotsylvania Farmer’s Market; and Leann was the VDACS representative. I represented the farmer’s point of view.
The first passage I want to quote is from page 159, and it is a section on Jones Valley Urban Farm. There is a total of three paragraphs under Accrediting Agriculture, and the section I am quoting describes what a farmer needs to know.
“The name of the course – “The Arts and Science of Agriculture” (ASAP) – reflects its interdisciplinary mix. Both in the classroom and at the farm, students study botany, soil chemistry, entomology, microbiology, the work of water and sunlight, and even weather and air quality. They maintain garden beds, select crops, amend soil, and harvest vegetables for use in the school cafeteria. And students also learn about ecosystems and the regional, national, and global history of food systems. As required by most high school courses, they do homework, listen to lectures, conduct experiments and research, and take tests.”
I would also add if you explain from vegetables to livestock you can add veterinary care, physics, mechanics, nutrition and much more. From the business point of view, marketing, accounting and more, are all skills that a farmer needs.
Be prepared the book is not a pleasure read, but for me it was a great read, much like reading a text book. Because I follow the local food movement; I found this book has a wealth of information about happenings from coast to coast. There are severalVirginiafarmers featured so you have heard of, others you might want to learn about.
One of the points that interested me was all the educational opportunities that abound if I can find the right partners. The farm here can be turned into an open air laboratory, an outdoor classroom and more. There are so many possibilities for learning regardless of age. That is why I encourage as many farm visits as I do. The possibilities are limitless.
The book talks about farm to school programs, food for the long haul, building local food networks, even preserving cultural identities, even supporting backyard gardeners.
Can’t find the book locally; let me know I will be glad to lend you my copy. And we can discuss the book as you read further.