48% of Americans don't know where chocolate milk comes from, according to the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. That's nearly half of the population of the U.S. How did we grow so far removed from the way our food is produced? More importantly, how do we reconnect with our food system? We listed the top four ways to connect with the food system in 2018.
Ways to Learn More About Your Food
1. Shop at your local farmer's market.
The local farmer's market is a great place to learn about where your food comes from and who produces it. Typically, farmers and ranchers will bring the products they grew, raised, or produced and interact with the consumer. This is a great opportunity to ask questions and be involved in supporting the local economy. Shopping and eating local is the perfect way to connect with your food.
Wineries. Pick-Your-Own Orchards. Pumpkin Patches. All agritourism. Agritourism is where agriculture and tourism meet to help provide consumers with an education about what farmers and ranchers do. What better way to learn about where milk comes from than by going to a dairy farm? Learning about and seeing where products are created can help you better connect with the food system. Many farms allow you to "pick your own" and take home some great produce to go along with the memory.
3. Grow Your Own
Create a herb garden in your kitchen window. Raise a couple backyard chickens for fresh eggs. Attempt to produce your own food, even if it's just one product. The action of nurturing plants and animals for food will help you appreciate the work and inputs that go into farming on a small scale. Plus, eating fresh food from your garden... that's as local and connected as it gets!
4. Invest in Agriculture
Join forces with agriculturalists by investing in agriculture. Agriculture produces real assets, which help fuel the world. By investing in a farm or livestock operation, you create an incredible connection and impact with the local, and possibly national and international, food system.
The Harvest Returns platform draws together investors interested in agriculture with a wide assortment of investment agriculture products. With as little as $5,000, these investors are able to own interests in farms, timberland, or orchards in different parts of the world, each with their own risk/return profile. Wealthy landowners and sophisticated investors are familiar with the benefits of investing in agriculture. Now there are ways for the average American to put a portion of their investment portfolio towards agriculture, arguably, the world’s most important industry.