Agriculture + Lifestyle
Growing My Community
Posted on March 11, 2019 12:00 AM
By Chy Kellogg, Cobb County Volunteer
As a child growing up in an urban environment, I had no connection to where my food and fiber were coming from. Though both my maternal grandfather and paternal great-grandfather were farmers, neither of my parents farmed.
While I’ve always been a customer at various farmers markets, I first learned about Georgia Farm Bureau through the Cobb County Farm Bureau Farmers Market, where I was a vendor selling freshly baked goods. This is where I began my journey into the extensive world of agriculture, and where I developed a passion for agricultural literacy and an affinity for agricultural policy.
Being a member of Georgia Farm Bureau means that I am an advocate of agriculture on national, state and county levels. Spending so much time at the weekly market gave me a glimpse of the hard work and dedication farmers put into their work every day. It also opened my eyes to the huge disconnect between consumers and growers – especially youth.
Knowing something had to be done to educate my community about local produce, I started formally introducing market customers to farm vendors in hopes of building relationships between the two.
When I was appointed as the Cobb County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee Chair, my mission was to promote Georgia agriculture and to help consumers get a better understanding of the food misconceptions they may have heard through social media. Our committee immediately took action and started teaching Agriculture in the Classroom lessons throughout Cobb County schools.
From 2017-2018, my husband and I served on the Young Farmer and Rancher State Committee, where we were able to gain leadership experience with trips to Washington, D.C., speaking to our legislators regarding issues farmers face in Georgia. Through my appointments within Georgia Farm Bureau, I have been able to develop my networking capabilities, public speaking skills and my ability to advocate.
Along with promoting farmers, I also seek to promote nontraditional farming. With the voice of Georgia Farm Bureau, I believe that we can do more to educate and advocate for all forms of farming that exist in Georgia.
My involvement with Georgia Farm Bureau, and interactions with its members, have encouraged my husband and I to create our own garden. We grow corn, melons, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, green leafy vegetables, berries and a very young peach tree.
By growing food in my own garden, I am able to see what our farmers see – although on a much smaller scale. Last year in my garden, I faced issues such as squash bugs, tomato hornworms and blossom-end rot. By understanding the issues that our farmers experience, I am able to speak to students and to consumers about the work required to bring food to their tables.
When I speak to students who may not know where their food comes from, who say they don’t have a green thumb, or who have a stereotypical image in mind about what a farmer looks like, I get excited to help them.
I don’t look like a traditional farmer, but when I tell students I farm and that they can farm, their reactions are priceless. To me, there is nothing more rewarding than empowering students to grow their own food and helping them understand that as long as they have all the right ingredients – seed, soil, sun, water and love – a green thumb is not required.
I believe in Georgia Farm Bureau. It has opened my eyes to a world that always surrounded me, but one I never paid any attention to. It is an organization that supports agricultural education and is highly involved with UGA Extension offices across the state, 4-H, FFA, commodity groups and so many more organizations. It is a family that exists primarily for education and advocacy in agriculture.
As much as we should support and thank farmers for the food on our plates, I believe we also should support and thank Georgia Farm Bureau for advocating for farmers, assisting them with being able to continue to put food on the plates of our communities.