As the global population rises and we face pressing environmental challenges, helping people understand agriculture’s crucial role in our future has never been more important. The new Farming for the Future Foundation hopes to do just that, becoming a world-class resource for current and future generations of consumers.
The Wisconsin-based nonprofit will deliver a unique blend of in-classroom content and hands-on experiences designed to inspire students and families to appreciate the origins of their food.
“Ultimately, we want to help deepen the relationship between farmers and consumers,” said Richard Pavelski, Farming for the Future Foundation’s founder and director.
The organization was founded by the Pavelski family, whose roots in agriculture date back to 1873.
“Our family has deep ties to potato and vegetable farming, and we’ve watched agriculture grow into the technologically advanced, science-driven industry it is today,” said Pavelski. “Through Farming for the Future Foundation’s efforts, we’ll highlight how agriculture — specifically potato, vegetable and crop production — is providing consumers with nutritious foods in sustainable, exciting new ways.”
Modern agriculture has extensive benefits, yet there are myths about farming that hold consumers back from truly appreciating the work farmers do.
“Today, the food on our table is a point of interest in how we fuel our lives. Consumers want to know how it was grown and where it comes from,” said Candise Miller, the foundation’s executive director. “It’s our goal to be a pillar of truth for the public, helping them appreciate all the incredible efforts that go into growing the foods they love. We want to get people excited about agriculture and the direction it’s headed.”
The organization’s first initiative is to create more agricultural educational opportunities in schools by developing content that helps students connect more closely with their food and understand the variety of careers available in agriculture. The foundation will partner with school districts in central Wisconsin, and eventually other regions, to create lesson plans, programming and activities that weave agriculture education into existing curriculums.
The foundation’s longer-term plans include building a state-of-the-art discovery center. The center will serve as a destination for student field trips, interactive learning experiences, industry conferences, community events and more. Plans for the center are still being finalized, but the site will be strategically located to be a resource for as many students, schools and families as possible.