Our relationship with agriculture and food
Food is the source of life. In human society, food consumption and agricultural production and sales are inseparable. Agriculture is the most important source of food, and dietary activities are basically part of agricultural activities. Therefore, “food and agriculture” are two sides of the same coin, leading to the term "food agriculture education."
In traditional agrarian societies, farming operations are a way of life for most families, and family members tend to be involved in farm to dinner table work. Therefore, in earlier agrarian societies, children lived in an environment where they constantly interacted with soil, insects, weeds, crops, trees and natural landscapes from birth, experiencing first hand nature, agricultural production, operational skills and agricultural food. As a result, harvesting, storage and cooking skills represented the basic literacy of these children as they grew up.
Since the Industrial Revolution, with the rapid development of transportation, communications, materials and biotechnology, people's living space has continuously expanded. As a result, the convenience of buying low priced food rapidly reduced motivation for engaging in agricultural production, diminishing the need to directly purchase food from producers and local food networks declined to be replaced by a globalized food network. At the same time, this also caused a large number of farmers to move to the cities, making our relationship with agriculture and food increasingly distant, leading to other issues such as with food additives. The rise of food agriculture education aims to make up for this disconnect.
Food and Agriculture Education
The most important feature of food agriculture education is to learn through the hands-on labor of farming and food preparation, emphasizing environmentally-friendly farming methods and local ingredients with minimal chemical additives. Food and agriculture education can be defined as “a process of experiential education. Through the experience of interacting with food, catering workers, animals and plants, farmers, the natural environment and related actors, students learn about local agriculture and correct eating lifestyles and the culture formed, as well as the impact of farming and diet on the environment.”Reference: Taiwan Agricultural Extension Association