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Ag Fest debunks stereotypes about agriculture

Event features over 20 exhibits, educates community about industry

On Tuesday, March 19, Virginia State University held the Second Annual Ag Fest to promote agriculture at Foster Hall.

Students weren’t the only ones in attendance at Ag Fest. People from the local Petersburg and Colonial Heights communities, as well as students from kindergarten through high school came to campus to learn how agriculture is a part of everyone’s lives.

“We wanted to bring Ag on campus and show our community that it’s more than just farming,” said Erica Shambley, Marketing and Communications Assistant Director. “Agriculture is everything from STEM related activities, climate smart practices, from farm to table.”

There were over 20 exhibits at Ag Fest. Many of them demonstrated how agriculture is included in everything that students have and do.

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One exhibit showed how energy can be transferred from one thing to the next with a stationary bike. Students sat on the bike, as a piece of paper was placed in a circular tray next it. The students were told to pedal as paint was being poured onto the paper, making it into spin art.

“It’s just a cool activity for students of different ages, and you’re transferring that energy from one thing to the next, and also using it to create different things,” said Kristoff Minus, School of Community Garden Associate.

Many VSU students saw Ag Fest as an opportunity to hang out and catch up with friends as they were learning about agriculture.

Freshman Janae Spates went to Ag Fest with her friend sophomore Madison Dunham and learned how agriculture is represented in the African American community.

“I feel like even though our culture is represented, we don’t really get a chance to be as involved because it’s not as accessible,” Spates said. “I like how we have access to it here on campus.”

Like many of the events, one of Ag Fest’s purposes was to debunk the stereotype that agriculture is only about farming.

“A lot of times  when  students  hear  about  agriculture,  the  first  thing  they  think  about  is  farming,  and  it  kind  of  strays  them  away  from  it  because  not  everyone  wants  it,” Minus said.

Shambley says that her favorite part about Ag Fest this year was seeing people’s reactions to learning about agriculture.

“My favorite part about Ag Fest is seeing the look on people’s faces who may not have been aware of everything we have going on in agriculture,” Shambley said. “That is always exciting to me.”

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