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Make National Agriculture Week a Family Affair

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Oregonians are encouraged to celebrate National Agriculture Week by involving the whole family this year:  (NOTE: National Ag Week is March 23-29)

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It’s a week to give thanks to those in agriculture for all they do:

RATCLIFFE:  “We all eat. We all wear clothes. Our food and fiber come from agriculture. We have nearly 2 million farmers, fishers, and ranchers who are producing those things in the country, but 35,000 of them are right here at home in Oregon.”  :15

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Michelle Ratcliffe is Farm to School Specialist with the Oregon Department of Agriculture. She says there are many ways to celebrate Oregon agriculture and people should find their own way. But it would be nice this year to include the entire family:

RATCLIFFE:  “Go to a grocery store and look for Oregon products on the shelves and in the produce section. You can take your kids to a winter’s farmers’ market. It’s a fun family outing and it really just shows kids the seasonality of food in Oregon. When you meet the farmers, my gosh, kids just light up.”  :16

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Kids are also more likely to be exposed to agriculture year round. Oregon now has 500 school gardens, about 43 percent of the state’s public schools, which gives young people a first hand appreciation for the work that is involved in growing food. Some fun facts to keep in mind during this year’s National Agriculture Week….one American farmer now supplies food for about 155 people, and Americans spend just 6.5 percent of their income on food, the lowest in the world, because of the efficiency of US farmers. In Salem, I’m Bruce Pokarney.

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RATCLIFFE says National Ag Week will be the focus of the ongoing Celebrate Oregon Agriculture campaign, which provides messages and information as part of the popular morning TV show, AM Northwest, on Channel 2 in Portland:

“During National Agriculture Week, what we are doing is actually featuring a different farmer, fisher, and rancher every single day of the week, and providing recipes and fun facts and tips for families. A great thing to do would actually be to use those products in your meals.”  :15

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RATCLIFFE says kids, in particular, are learning more about agriculture year round, not just during a special week:

“We now have 500 school gardens peppered around the state, that’s huge. That’s 43 percent of our public schools have a school garden. But what it does is give kids at least a first blush appreciation for how hard it is and how much you have to know to grow food.”  :16

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