Debunking the Myth of the “Idiot Farmer”

farmer picking beets

The importance of all aspects of higher education in creating alternative forms of sustainable agriculture for a smarter workforce and a healthier economy

There is a common misconception that farmers are uneducated and that farming is a lowly career choice. How do we reconcile this misguided idea with the growing movement toward an even more technology-driven agriculture focused in urban areas? As this is a necessary adjunct to existing rural farming, how do we properly educate students to enter into new fields of study and new careers that focus on this shift? 

A functional greenhouse ties together virtually every subject matter. Operating a productive greenhouse includes a knowledge of art and design, business, biology, and policy (to name a few). In understanding how greenhouses work, we can better approach the complexities of a multifaceted economy. Like a greenhouse, a sustainable economy can only properly function by thinking within an interdisciplinary and whole-systems framework. 

The most important takeaway is that an understanding of agriculture is integral to a sustainably minded educational system. There is no reason why agriculture should not be taught in math, health/nutrition, or engineering. The only way to change the mindset of the lowly farmer, is to teach students, at a higher level, about how it works. Farming can and will become a viable career when we understand that it requires a high level of intelligence to function well. 

Furthermore, as our system of agriculture is changing alongside new technologies, smart greenhouse design can both offset some of the damages of climate change (including water and energy use), as well as create an adaptive solution to the effects of it.  Greenhouse technology is vital to the future of agriculture.

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