My sorority's national philanthropy, Ag In The Classroom, helps educate kids about where their food comes from because there isn't the inherent tie to farming like in the past. Sad as it is, more kids than I'd like to admit have absolutely no clue that their frozen pizza has any ties to agriculture! They don't realize that the crust is made from wheat that farmers grow and harvest every year, that the cheese started out as milk from dairy cows or that there is actually a difference between dairy and beef cows!
Check out some of the ag facts below and support farmers!
- Pork is the number one meat consumed in the world. American's comsmption declined in the 70's because people started looking for a leaner protein source. The hogs raised today are less fatty due to improved genetics and feeding.
- The US grows more than 30,000 acres of garlic every year. This produces more than 500 million pounds of garlic. Garlic is primarily grown in California, but is also produced in Oregon, Nevada, Washington and New York.
- Potatoes are utilized more for frozen fries than any other product. Are you surprirsed?
- Each year, US dairy farmers provide enough milk to make more than 1 billion pounds of butter, 7 billions pounds of cheese and 1 billion gallons of ice cream!
- Kale belongs to the same species of the mustard family as collards, cabbage and broccoli. It is also very high in vitamin A and C!
Unlike the kids I helped teach, I grew up hearing what our crops were raised for and how they fed the world! I have an appreciation for the food I eat because of how I was raised and for that I'm incredibly thankful.
Bringing awareness to National Ag Week with a recipe only seemed natural to me. Farmers feed us and without them, well... as romantic as it sounds, you can't survive on love alone!
Slow Cooker Sausage and Kale Stew with Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes
Adapted from Martha Stewart
1 pound sausage, crumbled into small pieces
1 large onion, chopped
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup water
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
sea salt and pepper
2 large russet potatoes (approx. 1 pound)
1 small bunch kale, stems removed and leaves torn (approx. 7 cups)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup olive oil
1. Combine the sausage, onion, tomatoes and their juices, tomato paste, garlic, water, Italian seasoning and 3/4 teaspoon salt and pepper in a 4 or 6 quart slow cooker. Place the potatoes in the liquid and top with the kale.
2. Cover and cook until the potatoes are tender, on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours.
3. Transfer the potatoes to a medium bowl. Add the milk, oil and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper to a bowl and mash.
4. Serve the stew over the top of the mashed potatoes.