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September 6, 2007

Cowley Agriculture/Economics class learns what's in a label


Produce TourCowley College Career and Technical Education/Agriculture instructor Brett Butler recently assigned students in his Agriculture/Economics class the task of finding out how much they could learn about a food product either from labeling, marketing, or contacting the produce manager or butcher while at a local grocery store in Arkansas City.

The assignment was for each student to pick out one food product, preferably one of their favorite foods, and find out as much as they could about that product, such as the raw ingredient or what company distributes it.

Some of the products students chose for the assignment were, milk, corn flakes, green beans, canned tomatoes, Cheerios, and beef.

“It gave the class a good insight into what we are putting into our bodies and our families bodies, and how important it is to know as much as you can about the product,” Butler said.

Butler wanted the students to find out if they had questions about a product, could they find the answers to those questions in the store.

“In the end we were dissatisfied with the knowledge we could gain about the product, it was very vague and very general as a whole,” Butler said. “You can find out so much more information if you buy the fruits and vegetables from the people who grew it. But, the ultimate question was how much will a consumer pay for knowledge.”

Currently, Butler’s class is discussing the sizes and classes of farms, also family farms versus corporate farms. They are also discussing the food industry as a whole and how it’s a large sector of the economic system in the United States.