Cultural cringe: schoolchildren can’t see the yoghurt for the trees

04/03/2012 21:21

I’ve written a number of pieces in the past highlighting what I viewed as everyday symptoms of childrens’ disassociation with their environment and in turn nature as a whole. However, blogging is one thing, having a study means I own everyone’s house!…… no not really…… it just tells us what everyone could see if they stopped long enough to look.

Before you view this piece have a look at a Jamie Oliver video where he quizzes younger children on  the names of vegetables. You may think, well they’re younger, they shouldn’t be expected to know to know, however getting to 12 and not knowing where yoghurt or cotton come from? Just sad. In Australia for overseas readers year 6 (the final year of Primary school) hosts children who are 11-12 years of age.

Excerpts below -the full article can be read from the link above.  

A national survey of year 6 and 10 students by the Australian Council for Educational Research found yawning gaps in young people’s knowledge of basic food origins.

In a hypothetical lunch box of bread, cheese and a banana, only 45 per cent in year 6 could identify all three as from farms.

More than 40 per cent in year 10 thought cotton came from an animal and more than a quarter of their younger peers believed yoghurt came from plants. In year 10, only 13 per cent identified yoghurt as a plant product.

The Primary Industries Education Foundation, which commissioned the research to be released today, said the findings were a ”wake-up” call.

”We’re a very urbanised nation,” said the foundation’s chairman, Cameron Archer. ”Food is relatively cheap. Everyone takes it for granted and we’re quite complacent about our well-being.”

”I was surprised that some of these very, very basic relationships weren’t understood,” he said. ”It’s fascinating you can have a big bale of hay one day and then milk to produce a few thousand lattes the next day.”

 The survey found most children believed timber was mostly harvested from native forests and about a third thought wildlife could not survive on farmed land.

‘The end result of being so separated from our food is that we really devalue our farmers,” the president of the alliance, Liz Millen, said. ”We tend to think that we’ve got an endless supply [of food],” she said.’

Tess Michaels