Agriculture has always been the basis of every society throughout history because of how fundamental it is for our survival. However, our academic institutions have moved further and further away from considering it a necessary discipline.
While it exists as an academic discipline for undergraduate studies, most students don't get the opportunity to learn about it at the school level. Given the increasing focus on food production and sourcing, changing the academic structure to include agricultural education is important.
This blog will explore the significance of agriculture and farming and why a basic knowledge of these disciplines should be a part of the academic structure and why it should be taught to children in our schools today.
Significance of Agriculture
Agriculture plays a vital role in society and its upkeep. Following are the main ways in which it impacts us on both a general and an individual scale.
1. Impact on Health
Agriculture is the main source of food production and is directly responsible for our health as individuals and groups. Agricultural practices and their subsequent contribution to the food industry affect our total nutritional intake and balance.
The industry has also been at the centre of criticism recently due to the heavy use of artificial fertilisers and pesticides, which can be harmful to our health. Fortunately, agricultural businesses have started taking these concerns seriously and some of them are investing in less harmful food production methods.
2. Economic Development
Agriculture was responsible for earning £4.1 billion in the UK in 2020 alone despite the impact of both COVID-19 and Brexit. The industry has always been a major contributor both directly and indirectly through related industries.
Furthermore, it will play an even more important role now that Britain operates outside the EU's trade protection.
Agriculture has a major impact on surrounding communities, often leading to extensive development, as well as improving the base infrastructure in the area. Farmers are also very community-oriented and share tips and suggestions with fellow farmers when needed.
This sense of community makes them strong and reliant on each other.
The industry has a major impact on the environment, accounting for 10% of annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the UK and 25% overall. The Climate crisis has put pressure on the industry to adopt more sustainable methods; however, businesses have yet to show complete transformations in this respect.
Why Agricultural Education Should be Taught in Schools
Aside from the general relevance of agriculture in our daily lives, there are also several benefits of including it as a necessary discipline in schools.
1. Includes Knowledge About Basic Survival Skills
Agricultural education can help students learn about several basic survival skills. Students will know how to differentiate between some poisonous and non-poisonous growths in addition to learning more about growing their own food.
Agricultural education also extends further and can teach children about soil health, plant identification, food safety, etc., all of which is practical knowledge they can use in their routines. The more they know, the more self-sufficient they can become.
2. Helps Students Understand Where Their Food Comes From
Surprisingly, few adults understand the effort, money, and resources that go into food production. Whether we refer to crops or livestock-based food products, people have, at most, a vague idea about the dynamics.
Including agriculture and farming as major disciplines during schooling will help all children understand food production and management. This knowledge adds to their exposure and helps them better understand the seasonality of crops, harvesting and transportation.
3. Provides Key Nutritional Knowledge
Knowing more about agriculture and farming will increase their knowledge about the nutritional value their food contains. Most kids do not know how to determine which foods are better for them nutritionally and which aren't.
This lack of knowledge leaves them vulnerable since they cannot accurately look beyond marketing claims to conclude how healthy a product is. Learning more about nutritional value can also help them follow a more balanced diet and refrain from unnecessarily cutting out necessary foods due to trending diet cultures.
4. Combines Knowledge from Several Disciplines
Aside from teaching about survival, self-sustenance, etc., agricultural education is also important because it combines the knowledge of several disciplines.
Determining which plants thrive in a specific climate will teach them about basic geological and climate differences between regions. They will also need to explore biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics to make critical calculations and estimations about crop plantation and harvesting.
As mentioned above, agriculture and farming also teach valuable lessons about the nutritional value of various food products, helping people make more informed decisions about their intakes.
5. Encourages Responsible Consumption
Both theoretical and practical agricultural education can prompt students to be more responsible about their food consumption. Food wastage is a massive problem in the UK. 8.4 million people in the UK don't have enough to eat, and yet nearly 3.6 million tonnes of food gets wasted annually in the country.
If children know how much effort goes into producing a single morsel of food, they are less likely to waste food when they are younger and as adults. This responsible behaviour can transform the food industry and encourage conversations about sustainable living.
6. Keeps Them Physically Active
Farming and agriculture are intense disciplines to learn about, and their practical application is physically demanding. By including them in academic curriculums, schools can help make students more physically active, thus strengthening them physically and mentally. Such activities will also build their stamina, which increases a person's endurance.
Agriculture-related work will also encourage team building, with students communicating effectively to ensure their collective project flourishes.
7. Making Agriculture and/or Farming a Career Choice
There are many young people in the UK that have hardly any knowledge on this sector of the industry and what it entails. Most are unlikely to come from farming families that can educate them. So, by being educated in schools on this vital part of the economy, it may aid them to consider this sector in career choices, whereas they may never had of considered it before, without having being educated on it and what it entails.
Overall, agriculture and farming are an integral part of our lives and it is practical for people of all ages to have a basic understanding of the disciplines. Agricultural education can do wonders for children's development, and it can help them grow up to become responsible, energetic, and self-sufficient adults, as well as contributing to a key part of our overall economy.
We hope you enjoyed reading this blog and found it informative. You can check out our other blogs for more information about farming, agriculture and agricultural jobs here: https://www.agrirs.co.uk/blog
If you are a client or a job seeker and are interested in finding more about the recruitment services which we offer – please visit www.agriRS.co.uk