“I don’t think the general populace thinks about agriculture until they read something in the headlines and it’s associated with Mad Cow Disease, Avian Influenza, Exotic Newcastle Disease, or West Nile Virus. That’s when they start thinking about agriculture, because I think we take it for granted that it’s going to be there.”
Eric Zimmerman is Brazos County’s Texas Cooperative Extension agent and he says today it’s not uncommon for the vast majority of an elementary school class to be a generation or two removed from agriculture. Texas Cooperative Extension came up with a unique teaching tool they call the pizza ranch that’s held every year at reed arena.
“We identify herbs, we identify vegetables with the tomatoes, beef, pork with sausage, there’s bar-b-qued chicken pizza, so we have poultry. We address that poultry issue bringing that out since poultry is a major industry in Brazos County in terms of agricultural income.”
The idea of course is to link a pizza’s components back to agriculture, and eventually educate young consumers about where their food comes from.
“I think it’s going to take a much greater time in terms of educating the general public on agriculture and its effect on our communities. I say that because the best way to educate people is, in my mind to educate our youth. If we educate our youth, eventually, those youth that are in that 4th grade class, that are going through the Pizza Ranch, are going to be our future leaders, our future tax payers, our future voters.”
And Zimmerman says there’s one point that can’t be emphasized enough.
“We still as a community, not only at the local level but nationwide have the most abundant and cheapest food source in the world.”
I’m Bob French, tracing the journey our food and fiber makes from the farm to our homes, From the Ground Up.