In news that will shock absolutely no one, the Primary Industries Education Foundation has revealed that young Australians have a concerning lack of understanding about where their food and fibre comes from or the means of its production.
From the executive summary of the report, “Food, Fibre and our Future 2020“:
The awareness divide between urban and rural communities continues to widen and knowledge of where food comes from and the methods of production and processing are less a part of daily lives than several decades ago. Once upon a time, there was a stronger connection with rural regions and farming, but nowadays that is not the case. As well, fewer schools across Australia offer food and fibre related subjects.
While PIEFA are primarily focussed on improving knowledge through the education system (obviously essential), research and experience tells us that farmers markets also have an important role in education.
What better way to understand how your food got to your plate than to ask the farmer who produced it?
Perhaps most interesting is PIEFA’s summary about food and fibre issues concerning students:
- Students are concerned about key environmental issues (drought, bushfire, water management, and climate change amongst others)
- These concerns align with a range of beliefs concerning food and fibre production in Australia and have potential to impact the perceptions of the quality, safety and ethical value of the food and fibre we strive to produce
- Regional students are more attuned to issues and implications, both positive and negative, concerning food and fibre production.
- This is the lens through which students have responded to this research regarding food and fibre production – and these prevailing attitudes demand that building positive imagery and trust (through knowledge and connection) must remain a key focus for these industries moving forward, particularly among metropolitan students. [emphasis added]
The FMANSW was established as a means to establish and maintain trust between consumers and farmers markets. It’s basically our whole thing.
As PIEFA points out, trust is achieved through education and connection.
Two things that farmers market excel at.
Now, more than ever, farmers markets are a vital link between healthy people and a healthy planet.
The FMANSW strives to ensure that link continues to strengthen.