Yes, October is Farm to School Month

While I whole-heartedly agree with our girls taking STEM courses and the boys learning child care, there’s also another skill set every human needs to learn: how to literally place food on the table or in the cupboard for later consumption.

Our pioneer skills are rapidly being forgotten. Newly-urbanized families are reluctantly admitting the everyday things the grandparents knew how to do are vanishing from daily use. Perhaps a hypothetical family, the Smiths, has only been city-dwellers for one or two generations. And this is for the very good reason of having better jobs or careers. But those same Smiths may find themselves also living in a food desert, no matter how expensive the neighborhood, without a grocery store close by or the abilities necessary to raise, cook, and preserve or store even ordinary foods.

It’s happened too many in the Boomer generation: how many know how to can fruit or vegetables, freeze meat the correct amount of time or store dried beans and peas in glass jars? Neither the X generation or Millennials have fared any better.

What if the old-fashioned Home Ec teachers made a comeback, under the auspices of the USDA and county agents around the country? Students would enroll online, then travel a short distance to a working farm, to closely observe how their food is grown in the fields. Students could help pick, gather, haul in the crop they were studying. Next step: the local commercial kitchen, newly installed at that farm, in which the Home Ec teachers would guide the students through hot-water bath canning, pressure cooking, making jerky and fruit leathers, utilizing a freezer to its greatest extent.

Talk about a self-sufficient nation! Our forefathers and foremothers would be immensely proud of us, making the absolute best of all our resources, using sunshine, rain, good rich soil and being certain everyone, of any age, learned a skill and ate better meals. It’s something to consider, this ‘morphing’ a farm into a school of better nutrition.

What seed will you plant today?

Terri Jenkins-Brady

Dixie Chile Ranch