Event celebrates importance of local agriculture

When selecting packaged products at a grocery store and tossing them into a shopping cart, it’s easy to forget about the labor of love that goes into getting those foods from the farm to the table.

In recognition of National Agriculture Week, Michigan State University Extension is celebrating the importance of local agriculture at a free, fun, family-oriented event this Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. at the Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan. Called Generations Nourishing Generations, the event will feature educational exhibits, fun activities for kids, a name the calf contest, food samples, a film festival and more.

“Saturday will be a day to celebrate and recognize the contribution of agriculture in our everyday lives,” said Mary Dunckel, state MSU Extension agriculture literacy educator. “Today, most people are two to three generations removed from the farm so events like this are really important as they help consumers understand where their food comes from.”

Dunckel also said that agriculture provides almost everything people eat, use and wear on a daily, even if too few people truly understand this contribution.

“For instance,” Dunckel said, “in the 1960s, one farmer fed 25 people and today each American farmer feeds more than 144 people. As the world population soars, there is an even greater demand for food and fiber produced in the United States.”

MSU Extension chose the Besser Museum as the site of its National Agriculture Week celebration because with the theme, Generations Nourishing Generations, it seemed like the perfect place and partner.

“This is a great opportunity for the museum to partner with another local agency that works to educate the public,” said Besser Museum Director Chris Witulski. “We have our agricultural exhibit that is kind of an anchor for National Agriculture Awareness Week. We have lots of centennial farms in Alpena, Alcona, Montmorency and Presque Isle counties.”

With the historical background the museum can provide, Witulski agreed the museum is an appropriate location in which to hold the celebration. She expects lots of farmers to be in attendance, sharing with visitor what they do to bring food from the farm to the table.

“They’re going to have demos, crafts and activities for kids,” she said. “They are going to give away free cheese and dairy products, ice cream and apples. This is a national thing MSU Extension does, and Besser Museum is glad to be supporting them.”

Saturday’s event is made possible through the support of Alpena Veterinary Clinic, GreenStone Farm Credit Services, Miller Feeds LLC, Switzer Veterinary Clinic and United Dairy Industry of Michigan.

For more information, contact Witulski at 356-2202 or Dunckel at 354-9870.