From the food on your table to the clothes on your back, agriculture provides a variety of things you eat, wear and use daily. Those items don’t magically arrive in the New River Valley at the store or in your home.
National Ag Week is March 22-28, with National Ag Day on Tues., March 24. It is organized by the Agricultural Council of America [ACA] whose core values are that every American should:
• Understand how food and fiber products
• Appreciate the role agriculture plays in
providing safe, abundant and affordable
• Value the essential role of agriculture in
maintaining a strong economy.
• Acknowledge and consider career
opportunities in the agriculture, food and
The New River Valley is near and dear to the heritage of agriculture and farming. In 1925, four educators at Virginia Tech organized the Future Farmers of Virginia (FFV) which served as the model for the national organization Future Farmers of America (FFA), established in 1928.
Each American farmer feeds about 165 people, according to the ACA, which is composed of leaders in agriculture, food and fiber industries dedicated to increasing public awareness of agriculture’s role in modern society. Learning more about the industry can allow individuals to make more informed choices about everything from their diets to legislation.
In honor of the 47th annual National Ag Day with the theme “Food Brings Everyone to the Table,” these activities that can help kids and adults learn more about how the agriculture industry impacts daily life.
Make a Farm-to-Table Meal
Making a meal together is an easy activity for spending quality time with the entire family, and you can turn it into a learning experience and opportunity to talk about where food comes from by combining seasonal produce like asparagus, peas, oranges and lemons with ingredients Virginia is known for such as peanuts, tomatoes, apples and grapes.
Research Agricultural Issues
From climate change and protecting air, soil and water to feeding a growing global population and using technology to improve food production, there are many issues facing the agriculture industry. To be more aware of what the future may hold, learn more about some of the challenges that farmers face.
Consider Agricultural Careers
Students and young adults might consider joining the 22 million people who work in agriculture-related fields. While the most obvious careers in agriculture are directly related to the farm or ranch, today’s agriculture offers more than 200 careers from research and engineering to food science, landscape architecture and urban planning.
Tour a Local Farm or Dairy
Taking a tour of a farm or dairy can provide a better understanding of how food and fiber products are produced and the role agriculture plays. Make it a group outing with friends or family to help more people see the process food goes through from production to sitting on store shelves.
Contact Legislators in Support of Farm and Food Initiatives
The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 created reform for U.S. Department of Agriculture programs through 2023. To get more hands-on, contact local legislators to show support for farming initiatives, FFA and 4-H programs, as well as those that can improve opportunities for farmland leasing, subsidies, urban gardening, food hubs and other ag-focused resources and operations.
Visit a Farmers Market
Open seasonally throughout the New River Valley, farmers markets provide a perfect opportunity to get up close and personal with your food and the people who grow it. Take the family and make an event out of picking up some fresh produce to use in family meals.
Volunteer at a Community Garden
Many NRV municipalities provide garden plots for residents to grow food for themselves or to donate within the community. Consider setting aside time to give back by cleaning flower beds, laying mulch or planting flowers and crops in these areas.
– (Family Features)
More ways to celebrate agriculture
Wong Park Community Garden opens in the spring of 2020 off Wilson Street in Blacksburg with 12 to 15 community garden.
Hale Community Garden is a 5-acre of community garden with 70 garden plots, greenhouse, beehives, small apple orchard and more at the north end of Blacksburg.
Giles County cooperative efforts
Pulaski community garden plans
Farmacy Garden, Christiansburg