In the 21st century, to meet the demands of the ever-increasing population of the world an organised food industry has been developed. Issues like food security, safety, nutritional economics, accessibility, community and biological diversity etc. are regulated by individual organisations like International Association of Food Protection. There are also many other private organisations who have taken the responsibility to educate the general public on food sources and motivate them to retain its sustainability and quality.
Awareness about food in Australia:
In a recent national survey done by the Australian Council for Educational Research between the age group, 6-10 years found that many kids were unaware of the fact on where does food come from actually. Most of our food is of plant origins, yet a majority of people know little or nothing about farming or food production.
In that survey, it was found that more than quarter of the children thought that yoghurt grew on trees and only 45% of the kids could recognise the food items in their lunch box as fresh or processed. Another survey of 600 students between the age group 15-18 was done in 2014, and the results were disappointing too.
An astounding 68% had no clue how and where food is produced. 77% didn't know about farming and food processing while some only perceived that agriculture must be necessary for Australia's economy.
Importance of food education:
In a survey conducted by Medibank and Stephanic Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation on over a thousand Primary School children (5-12 yrs) it was found that most of them didn't know where dairy products came from and the maximum of them didn't know that fruits grew on trees and potatoes are grown underground.
The children provided with food education knew about food production and agricultural produce. Especially kids who are actively involved in fruits and vegetable gardening; cooking and grocery shopping, knew more about food and how it is produced on a large scale.
Methods to educate about food:
The From Paddock to Plate (FP2P) food school program also strives to bring food education and real-life farming experiences to classrooms. They use accessible, unique, cost-effective programs like virtual excursions, DIY projects in gardening, healthy cooking classes, comprehensive worksheets etc.
This program can easily be integrated into the curriculum of primary school students so that they can learn about the different aspects of food industry along with their regular subjects.
The objective of FP2P schools Program:
- To encourage healthy eating and increase awareness and knowledge about food resources.
- To improve mental health and well being by stimulating creative thinking.
- To reduce food miles, food wastage and remove misconceptions that food education is only for agricultural and food technology classes.
- To provide a sense of community and social benefits by inspiring greater support for Australian farmers.
- To offer more agricultural education and inspiration on the career by attracting the attention of youth in the agricultural sector.
To get more information about how and where people source food, nutritional recipes and school programs, the From Paddock to Plate website or its app is a great place to start. Its founder and director Louise Fitzroy, who is also a Walkley Award-winning journalist, acclaimed food writer, local food and sustainability ambassador following the success of her book From Paddock to Plate is working tirelessly to teach people about fibre and food production in Australia.