Agriculture Day (Ag Day) at the University of Delaware is an annual event on south campus run by students. There are exhibitors, vendors, demonstrators, entertainers, contests, animals, and delicious food and ice cream being sold. Lots of the proceeds go to clubs and organizations that are involved in the community in different ways. Some clubs and organizations aren’t there to raise money, but just to inform onlookers of their roles at the university and how to be involved.
I volunteered at a table for about four hours during Ag Day. The weather was great and I had such a wonderful time! My role was to sell plants that were left over from the Philadelphia Flower Show. These plants were small and large, and desperately needed a home. I loved working there because it was so fun seeing all of the other tables around me. I also learned so much just from working there, because everyone who was interested in buying my plants asked questions about the species and the maintenance needed for taking care of each plant. I learned when blooming begins for different plants, how much water and sunlight they need, and the height and width of which they will grow to their fullest. I even took home a few bulbs to plant in the beginning of summer.
I felt like I really made a difference at Ag Day. It’s really important that people incorporate plants, flowers and trees into their lawns and homes, especially with the issues we are having with climate change. Insects like bees will benefit immensely from these acts. Bee populations have been dwindling dangerously, both domesticated honeybees and wild pollinators, and we can help prevent this from continuing by planting annual flowers that bees love. Katherine Martinko, a writer for Tree Hugger, says it is important, “…to ensure that the plants you choose are local to your region, since plants outside of their native range can cause a lot of damage.” People need to help, but they need to know the correct ways to help. Ag Day is a perfect opportunity to inform people on what plants to garden. Martinko also recommends looking for organic plants. She claims that in a 2014 report, researchers found that supposedly called bee-friendly plants sold at “71 Home Depots, Lowe’s, and Walmart stores across the United States and Canada…contained levels of neonicotinoid insecticides high enough to impair a bee seriously, if not killing it.” At Ag Day, consumers are assured of the quality of plants and know exactly where they come from.
Ag Day is also beneficial because it targets a family audience. This means that people of all ages can go and enjoy themselves, learn, and support organizations. This can help the betterment of society because an event like this being child-friendly means that our youth can be educated on why our environment is so important. In a briefly written on Grist, the writings focused on the voice of the younger generation. Grist claimed that, “growing up in the era of smartphones and social media, today’s kids have the world on a handheld screen. Yet they don’t often engage on environmental issues.” The briefly goes on to encourage the young generation to go outside, learn, and develop opinions.
The more that people attend events like Ag Day, the more that people can be involved and informed in things that are going on in the environment, in the government, and in their local communities. The more that they know, the more they can impact what happens. In a study called Examining Community Perceptions of Energy Systems Development: The Role of Communication and Sense of Place, researcher Amanda D. Boyd examined, “how interactions among local residents and their attachment to place influence community members’ opposition to and local action against technological developments.” The study found that projects like the CCS project in Alberta, Canada, was ultimately canceled due to local opposition. This shows that community members’ voices are truly heard, but they have to voice them in order for anything to happen. Ag Day is a great opportunity for community members to learn about what is going on, and encourages the voices of the community (Environmental Communication V. 11 Issue 2).
From this experience, I have gained a whole new perspective for the agriculture community. I participated in research studies, talked to representatives from different organizations, and overall really enjoyed myself at Ag Day. I am so excited to use the money (over $600!) that we have raised for next years flower show, and I encourage all to come out to the upcoming Ag Day’s.