Heather Haines, 4-H Agent, UGA Extension Forsyth County

Two adult women helping several young children start seeds in seed trays.
ATL Urban Farms owner Sheree Crow and 4-H Program Assistant Rachna Uttamchandani teach local youth how to start seeds for vegetables that will be grown in the farm’s tower gardens. Photo by Heather Haines

Forsyth County has undergone tremendous growth and change since 1987. The completion of Georgia Highway 400 in the 1980s turned Forsyth County into a suburb of Atlanta, encouraging population growth. Along with this growth, many locals have watched the county go through significant amounts of change, including a decrease in farmland within the county.

In an era marked by technological advancements and urbanization, the importance of agricultural literacy is often underestimated. Agricultural literacy goes beyond knowing how to plant a seed; it encompasses an understanding of the entire food production process, from farm to table. As we navigate a world grappling with environmental challenges and a growing population, the need for agricultural literacy has never been more crucial.

The roots of agricultural literacy start in schools. These programs range from 4-H and FFA clubs to science teachers in general education classrooms integrating basic agriculture concepts in their curricula. Incorporating agricultural education into the curriculum equips students with the knowledge and skills to understand the complexities of the food system. Beyond the classroom, community initiatives and workshops play a vital role in promoting agricultural literacy among people of all ages. In an effort to bridge the gap between farmers and consumers, agricultural literacy programs are gaining traction across the country. These programs not only educate individuals about the basics of farming but also foster an appreciation for the hard work and dedication of those who work the land.

In the pursuit of a more agriculturally literate society, collaboration between educational institutions, government bodies, and community organizations is paramount. It is through collective efforts that we can cultivate a generation of individuals who not only understand the various parts of agriculture but also value the role it plays in shaping our world.

Together Georgia commodities directly represent a value of nearly $14.7 billion to the state’s economy. While Forsyth County has become urbanized, we are still consistently among the top two producers in the state for greenhouse and landscape nurseries. The county has a strong and thriving agricultural community that also includes many types of fruits and vegetables, poultry, and agritourism. With a total farm gate value of $139,960,710.67 in 2022, it becomes clear that agriculture is still important in our community. For more information about the commodities that are grown in Forsyth County and their economic value, scan the QR code.

As the saying goes, “Knowledge is power.” In the context of agriculture, knowledge is not only power but also the key to a flourishing and sustainable future. Let us commit to nurturing agricultural literacy, ensuring that the roots of understanding run deep in our community, and as you sit around the table with friends and family this holiday season, do not forget to thank a farmer.