During the pandemic, most in person events transitioned to virtual gatherings, including those events in the farming community. Thanks to a $1 million grant from the USDA, Oregon State University was able to move Farm Tours and Ag education for young people on-line. According to OSU’s 4-H program the funds allowed them to implement an innovative Ag Distance Education Toolkit, which Maureen Hotsy said allowed them to continue with the importance farm to table message.
“Whether it’s in the aquaculture or a dairy farm or whatever, it goes all the way to the table, so following that process. So, showing kids that to be involved in the agriculture industry, you don’t have to own a piece of property in a rural community. There are things going on in urban communities, we have urban farms.”
Hotsy added the Toolkit have also allowed them to highlight how farming varies culture to culture, community to community across the Northwest.
During the pandemic, there have been concerns about food shortages, as well as the expansion of food deserts nationwide. Kristen Moore said these virtual activities allow young people to understand agriculture is not limited to massive wheat or dairy operations in rural communities.
“It could be having a small backyard garden in your house, in your neighborhood, a community garden, maybe your grow vegetables on the balcony of your apartment complex. And agriculture is very personal, it also brings communities together, it’s family business, it could be generational.”
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