Foundation 101: What is the Nutrients for Life Foundation?

February 06, 2014 | 1:02 pm

I often get asked, “What does the Nutrients for Life Foundation do?” My standard response goes something like this, “Since 2004, we have been providing science-based information to educate people about the valuable role fertilizers play in feeding our growing world.” I follow up with how much I love my job and how fulfilling it is to work in the one industry our world cannot live without, agriculture.  Our role at the Foundation is to educate others about agriculture and, specifically, how crop nutrients help increase our food supply by fifty percent. We have a big task, because the general public knows very little about the industry as documented in the following video.

 

 

Every time I play this video I get a few good laughs from the crowd, especially if they know a lot about agriculture. I realize there are some extreme examples in this video, but in reality, most consumers know very little about food production. Consumers lack basic scientific knowledge as it applies to agriculture. In the video they are talking about nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium; all three are elements on the periodic table. After 6th grade science, we should all recognize these basic elements. Why were the interviewees confused? Where does the confusion come from? Was it because they didn’t have a good scientific background in school? Or, perhaps, they haven’t learned to think critically about what they learned?

I share this video, first, because it is eye opening, but secondly because it shows that we need more agriculture educators. At no other time in history has my job, as an agriculture educator, been more critical. I believe our biggest challenge isn’t feeding the world’s population, rather, educating them on HOW we are feeding them.

In our efforts to educate, the Foundation has a wealth of curriculum and resources that are science based and created by the respected Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS) in conjunction with educators around the world and have been reviewed by the Smithsonian Institution.

We have a partnership with Discovery Education and created an online interactive version of our Middle School curriculum, the Science of Soil. Currently fifty percent of the schools in the United State subscribe to Discovery Education, which gives us an even greater opportunity to reach more classrooms.

The Foundation is supported by regional representatives (a fun team to work with) covering the United States. The Regional Representatives provide the boots on the ground offering their time, resources, and assistance to educators who want to learn more about soil and crop nutrients.

When asked about the Foundation, I am proud to share who we are and how we educate others about how fertile soil feeds billions, including my family.  If you are interested in learning more, send me an email (dmckenna@nutrientsforlife.org) and we can chat!

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