“Where does food come from?” is a question I am asked from both children and adults alike in my travels as an ABC Rural journalist, yoga teacher and local food and sustainability ambassador in Australia. Food is the essence of our existence so imagine a life without farmers, the people who produce our food. That is why I have made it my mission to provide food education to the next generation using a uniquely designed food schools program, so that we are all given the opportunity to understand where food comes from and be grateful that we live in a country where food is fresh and bountiful.
To find out just how necessary the From Paddock to Plate (FP2P) Schools Program is for children in Australia, read on…
A national survey of Year 6 and Year 10 students by the Australian Council for Educational Research found that:
- more than 40 per cent in Year 10 thought cotton came from an animal;
- more than a quarter of their younger peers believed yoghurt grew on trees; and
- only 45 per cent in year 6 could identify that the ingredients in a lunch box (bread, cheese and a banana) came from farms.
The results from a 2014 Rabobank survey of 600 students aged 15 to 18 found that:
- 77 per cent of city teenagers knew little or nothing about farming and food production;
- 17 per cent had never been on a farm;
- 68 per cent didn’t know where food comes from; however
- more than 90 per cent perceived farming, food production and food education as very important to Australia.
A study commissioned by Woolworths in 2014 of over 1,600 Australian children aged between six and 17 years revealed:
- 92 per cent of children didn’t know bananas grew on plants;
- six in 10 (61%) were unaware that herbs such as mint grew from the ground;
- over half of Australian kids were unaware that radishes (56 per cent) and beetroot (54 per cent) grew underground;
- six in 10 (59 per cent) couldn’t identify a leek;
- six in 10 (58 per cent) had difficulty naming a nectarine; and
- two in five (41 per cent) of Aussie kids couldn’t identify a zucchini or an apricot.
Finally, more than 1000 Australian primary school children (aged 5 to 12) participated in another survey, conducted by Medibank and the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation, that found:
- one in four didn’t know butter comes from cow’s milk;
- not all children knew that apples and bananas grow on trees, potatoes grow underground and tomatoes grow on vines;
- children who have been provided food education and know where food comes from are more likely to know how to boil an egg, bake a potato, and cook rice on the stove; and
- children who are involved in helping to grow fruits and vegetables, and assist with grocery shopping and preparing meals at home, know more about where food comes from and how it is grown.
If you believe that farming and food education is missing in your school, then subscribe to the national FP2P food schools program – www.frompaddocktoplate.com.au/schools-program-sign-up-form