Nourishing the next generation with the knowledge they need to be successful in the industry works to fulfill our mission, which we are able to make happen through partnerships like Growing Roots. Our partnership with Growing Roots kicked off in the fall of 2021, exposing nearly 50 students in the first year of the program to agriculture, healthy eating, and the many opportunities available in the industry.
The Center for Integrated Food Technology in partnership with Toledo Public Schools seeks to connect students with the lifecycle of a tomato plant. Planning for this project kicked off before the COVID pandemic, but Growing Roots didn’t let that get in the way of impacting the lives and futures of Toledo students. Growing Roots beyond the Garden kicked off virtually providing students with the educational resources needed to learn the “seed to cupboard” lifecycle of a tomato plant. Impactful outcomes from this program included:
- Introducing students in a predominantly urban school system to agriculture experiences and career paths,
- Providing a unique “seed to cupboard” perspective to students, and
- Exposure to the overall food system and agricultural practices.
The partnership will help to carry the program forward and support several classes of students ranging from seventh to eleventh grade. Support for this project has the overall goal of gaining a minimum of 200 advocates for agriculture within the 3-4 year partnership.
While agriculture’s contribution to the economy is significant, many Americans are somewhat unaware of farming’s influence in their lives. Less than 2 percent of the U.S. population* is involved in production agriculture and one in 12 American jobs are filled by people working for businesses that are adjacent to or dependent on agriculture – jobs that are in fields like food science, food inspection and packaging, agricultural engineering, teaching and finance. We are proud to back the Growing Roots program and shine a light on agriculture to urban youth who otherwise would not have been exposed to the vast opportunities within the industry.