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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

"Fair" Information

In today’s age, information is everything. From knowing exactly what ingredients are in our breakfast to being able to look up a definition in mere seconds thanks to our smartphones, we crave info. You may even be on this blog looking for info on how to properly prepare meat or how gluten affects your diet.  Today’s consumers are looking for the information about our food, and rightly so! However, when I searched the phrase, “What is in my food” nearly 67,900,000 results were pulled up by Google. Where on earth would I start?

Well, I have a solution. Instead of mindlessly scrolling through websites, step away from your computer and head to your local, county or state fair. We are in the midst of “Fair Season” as we speak. Around the country, fair exhibitors are working their hardest to earn that coveted blue ribbon with their assortment of projects. From the outside, it may seem like the fair is simply a place to ride the Ferris wheel and get delicious cotton candy, but if you’re looking for information about what is in your food, or where it comes from, this is exactly the place to find answers. 

Photo courtesy of Central Kansas Free Fair

The youth involved in 4-H and FFA are knowledgeable students who, when asked questions, will tell you the honest truth about their projects. The internet is a bundle of info, some of it scientifically correct, and some incorrect and opinionated; it can be difficult to draw the line. Having face-to-face conversations with these youth can show you the whole picture, the good and the bad. They work year-round to ensure that their projects will be fair-ready and have seen the ups and downs of the industries they serve.  

Not only can you get info from exhibitors, but you can see the process of farm-to-fork in real time. Head to the crops exhibit to learn about the variety of grains and grasses that make up our food supply. Stroll over to the livestock barns to inquire about how students care for their poultry, beef, pigs, sheep and goats. Then head to the baking exhibit to learn about what grains and other ingredients to use to make your apple pie blue ribbon worthy. In a country where the average consumer is 3 generations removed from traditional agriculture, this is the perfect opportunity to witness the process first hand. 

A junior goat exhibitor talking to the judge during showmanship.
Don’t forget the wonderful fair food and attractions, however, like the aforementioned cotton candy and Ferris wheel. If you’re looking for info about your food, put down your technology and head to the fair. Ask questions, witness the work of exhibitors, have fun, and learn about more about agriculture.

Your purple ribbon writer, 



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