Primary Industry plays a vital role in Australian’s economy and society, but the gap between rural and urban communities is growing, contributing to a lack of understanding of where food and other basic necessities of life come from. The recent television advertisement in which the grandfather shows a row of plants to his granddaughter and says “this is where peas come from” – to which she retorts “don’t be silly Grandad, peas come from the freezer” is an excellent example of this disconnect between the community and the industries that sustain them. While intended as a humorous element, there is a concern that this may be an accurate representation of the understanding and experiences of many young Australians.
This survey, comissioned by the Primary Industries Education Foundation was undertaken by the Australian Council of Educational Research (ACER) with the support of Woolworths. It reveals that 75 per cent of students thought cotton socks were an animal product and 45 per cent of students could not identify that everyday lunchbox items such as a banana, bread and cheese originated from farms