Next week I am off to Adelaide to participate in the Agriculture for the Future Debate@TheWaite where the affirmative team will be saying “Every Australian child should be taught agriculture at school” see link here.
When the gorgeous Dr Heather Bray rang me to invite me to participate I think she was pretty shocked when I said I wanted to be on team negative.
I have very strong opinions in this area and I definitely DONT think every Australian child should be taught agriculture at school. I do firmly believe we must strive to build communities without borders and remove the veil of mystery that separates consumers from the land that produces our food and the hands that grow it. However I don’t think making it mandatory for every child to study agriculture is the best way to do this. So please fellow farmers don’t judge me too harshly yet as I will be very surprised if the majority of you don’t agree with my arguments when you hear them.
But you will have to wait – this is a debate with winners and losers and I like to win so I cant share too much with you yet.
I assure you it will be fun so if you are in Adelaide on the 18th why not you join us?. For all you tweeps out there key messages from the debate will be tweeted live.
FYI from the flyer
Australia’s agricultural workforce is aging. The median age of farmers is 53, compared to 39 for other workers. Our agricultural workforce is also shrinking, declining 22% in the last 12 years.
Agriculture is facing more than a skills shortage; we need a ‘Generation F’ – the next generation of educated, ambitious young people to ensure Australia’s role as a food-producing nation into the future. But where will they come from?
A recent survey showed that Australian school students knew little about agriculture; 75% thought cotton socks were an animal product and 45% could not identify that everyday lunchbox items such as bananas, bread and cheese originated from farms. Students who know little about agriculture are even less likely to consider it as a career path.
Farming is usually portrayed in the media as a tough gig. Farmers work longer hours and are at the mercy of the weather and economic factors that are largely beyond their control. Why would our best and brightest want to go into agriculture when so many industry stories focus on ‘doom and gloom’?
Making agriculture compulsory in schools would not only improve food knowledge, but also highlight the role of business skills and specialised technical knowledge in modern agriculture, revealing the opportunities for young people in this vital and dynamic industry. But with so much already crammed into the school curriculum, do we need to be prepared to lose something to attract more people into agriculture?
So, should we be exposing all school students to agriculture and encouraging our young people into the sector with the promise of a brilliant career?
Or is it really up to the agricultural sector itself to make the industry more attractive to young people and remove some of the barriers that prevent them from entering it more easily?
This debate, moderated by Dr Paul Willis, RiAus, will explore all these issues, as six experts in two teams argue for your vote.
Finger food provided and cash bar available
Thursday 18 October
Where: Lirra Lirra Cafe, Waite Road,
Waite Campus, Urrbrae
Admission is free, but prior registration is
essential as seats are strictly limited
Go to http://www.waitedebate-school.eventbrite.com
to secure your tickets.