Understanding the Path to the Plate initiative
June 24, 2017 at 6:36 p.m.
Do you know and understand where your food comes from? Do you believe you are involved in agriculture even if you live in a city?
Sadly, millions of Americans today have no concept of where their food comes from, and most get their information about food production from inaccurate sources via social media and certain outlets of mainstream media.
Many people can't identify certain fruits and vegetables when they see pictures.
Many don't understand the health benefits of food consumption, leading to bad food choices, possible obesity and long-term health complications.
Every person on the planet is involved in agriculture, as every person must eat to maintain life.
In addition, most people who wear certain types of clothing are involved in agriculture, as many clothing products come from agriculture.
Folks who live in any type of home or shelter are involved in agriculture, as most building products come from agriculture.
American society is more than two generations removed from the family farm. This fact can explain why many people, old and young, have no concept from where their food comes and how their unhealthy food choices affect their health negatively.
They rely on advertising, friends and relatives to provide information about their food and health, whether it's accurate or not.
It's time for education about agriculture to change. It's time for an avalanche of land grant university research-based information to surface and be advocated to the public. We should no longer assume people understand where their food is produced and how it arrives at a market.
Thus, Texas A&M Agrilife Extension has created the Path to Plate Initiative. Path to the Plate helps consumers understand how their food choices impact their well-being by making the connection between agriculture and health. By understanding more about the path their food takes to their plate - how it's grown and produced - consumers can make better food choices for themselves and their families.
Using research-based information, Path to the Plate aims to dispel popular myths and misconceptions about food production practices. The goal of the Path to the Plate program is for all Texans to make informed decisions related to the food they eat based on truthful, relevant and accurate information.
Through this goal, the objectives are to provide comprehensive educational program information related to agriculture and health for consumers so they can make informed decisions related to the food they eat and to deliver correct, research-based information in order to dispel myths, promote truths and educate the uninformed in regard to agriculture and health.
Twenty-four Path to the Plate champions have been identified across Texas. These champions are County Extension Agents who will help move the goals and objectives forward. I am honored to be named one of them.
More information about this initiative will be forthcoming in my upcoming columns with more information related to Path to the Plate programs and education.
Until then, understand that agriculture is essential to all facets of everyone's life and making informed decisions about food is essential for health and wellness.
Please feel free to give me a call to discuss anything agriculture at the Victoria County Extension Office at 361-575-4581.
Matt Bochat is a County Extension Agent - Ag/Natural Resources Victoria County Texas A&M Agrilife Extension.