Exhibit celebrating agriculture unveiled at Georgia capitol
By Jennifer Whittaker, Georgia Farm Bureau
The next time you visit Georgia’s Capitol, check out the new exhibit spotlighting Georgia agriculture that is part of the Capitol Museum on the fourth floor. The permanent exhibit ‘From Your Farm to Your Table’ highlights the impact agribusiness has on Georgia’s economy and culture.
The Georgia Capitol Museum (GCM) worked with the University of Georgia Libraries team to develop the colorful exhibit that also highlights tips for eating healthy on a budget, the seasons in which various Georgia crops are harvested and some of the ways farmers use technology, such as apps and drones to monitor their crops for diseases or pests and to conserve water. The exhibit includes an interactive kiosk.
Georgia Sen. Valencia Seay (D – Dist. 34/Riverdale) sponsored bipartisan Sen. Bill 274, which the Georgia General Assembly passed and then-Gov. Nathan Deal signed in 2014, to create this exhibit. On June 4, Seay hosted an unveiling ceremony for the exhibit attended by other members of the Georgia Legislature and capitol staff. Georgia Farm Bureau provided food for the luncheon that followed.
Seay, who grew up in Atlanta, was first introduced to agriculture while serving on the Georgia House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee before being elected to the Senate. She remembers traveling to Middle Georgia with other House Ag Committee members to see peaches picked and processed at Lane Orchards. Several years ago, she attended an Urban Ag Academy hosted by Iowa State University for urban legislators.
“I saw an autonomous tractor equipped with the latest technology going down corn fields as far as the eye can see beaming back data about the crop and soil. I was fascinated as was my grandson, who went with me,” Seay recalls. “Most kids are not aware of basic agriculture much less the technology being used in agriculture today. It came to me that we needed an exhibit at the Capitol that would highlight Georgia agriculture. My grandkids gave me the idea for it to be an interactive display with games kids can play because they were born into technology.”
Seay credits the late Sen. Jack Hill for helping her secure money in the state budget for the exhibit and UGA Librarian & Associate Provost Toby Graham and his team for bringing her idea for the exhibit to life.
“I gave them [UGA Library team] the idea and they pulled it all together,” Seay said. “There’s a lot of information in that display and there’s a teaching element to the display that teachers can use to get their kids involved with the interactive computer game kids can play. My grandson loved playing to get his score up.”
Before COVID-19, about 25,000 people annually booked guided tours of the Georgia Capitol each year through the GCM. Thousands more Georgians visit the capitol annually while the Georgia General Assembly is in session for 40 days during mid-January to April. At this time, all guided tours of the Capitol are suspended until further notice, per the museum website, but the Capitol is open for self-guided tours. All capitol tours are free. Visit https://gfb.ag/gacapitolmuseum for more information about visiting the Capitol.