Sustaining Agriculture

Sustaining Agriculture for Today and Tomorrow—Investigating Sustainable Practices in Agriculture, Food and the Environment

Each person has their own personal definition of the term “sustainability,” which makes it a very complex topic to discuss in agriculture, food and the environment. According to experts in the field, sustainability has often been referred to as a stool: an issue or particular industry is only truly “balanced” if all legs of the sustainability stool are at an even length. Therefore, equal attention should be given to all three to avoid making the stool “wobbly.” The three legs of our sustainability stool are economic, environment and social. 

The purpose of this project is to engage students in exploring their own personal definitions of sustainability through investigating an agricultural issue or topic they are enthusiastic about. As we learn about sustainability and research more about the issues, we have the opportunity to create digital advocacy materials to inform the public about our selected issue or topic. We will learn about sustainability through engaging with three expert speakers who tackle each of the three legs of the sustainability stool: economic, environment and social. The experts share about issues they are also enthusiastic about to give us a broad perspective of the hot topics within agriculture, food and the environment and inspire us to think about issues outside of the one we identify as our focus through the project. By the end of this learning adventure, we will have the tools to be informed about several agricultural issues, refine our definitions of sustainability, improve upon our writing and research skills and have the potential to influence the community through sharing important and relevant information about topics we are passionate about through the development of strategic social media content.

Joe RamstadJoe Ramstad

Joe Ramstad grew up in Forest Lake, Minnesota just north of the Twin Cities metro without any farm or direct agricultural experiences but took his first agricultural education course as a freshman and was instantly hooked! His experiences in high school inspired him to become an agricultural education teacher. He earned his undergraduate degrees in Agricultural Education and Agricultural Communication & Marketing from the University of Minnesota—Twin Cities and graduated in 2019. Since then, he has been teaching agricultural education to students in grades 5 through 12, engaging them in a variety of courses ranging from advanced welding to veterinary science. He is also currently working on his Masters of Science in Agricultural Education and Communication from the University of Florida. Sustainability is a cornerstone discussion topic that finds its way into nearly every class Joe teaches. Outside of teaching, Joe enjoys being outdoors, grilling foods and traveling!

Participant School & Location:

Rockford Area Schools—Rockford, Minnesota

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