Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve. That is the motto of the National FFA Organization, and the way FFA members approach a challenge. The National FFA Organization is one of the largest youth organizations in the country, with 653,359 members in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This summer, we had the opportunity to travel to Ohio FFA Camp Muskingum in Carrollton, Ohio for all 5 sessions of camp, to facilitate some activities with Ohio FFA members.
Ohio’s FFA members are the perfect audience to discuss the bioeconomy with, because of their knowledge of agricultural science and leadership experience. Campers at Ohio FFA Camp Muskingum competed to test their knowledge of the bioeconomy with our biobased Jeopardy game before participating in a discussion about the role of biobased products in their lives.
Many campers live or work on a production farm and have plenty of experience in the role of producer, others are at least moderately familiar with life on a farm and possess a knowledge of agricultural science that is essential for understanding this complex industry. After discussing the advantages of biobased products and materials, a camper at each session would ask, “If bioproducts are so cool, why aren’t they more popular?” This was the ideal segue into our marketing activity.
We challenged Ohio FFA members to create a marketing pitch for a specific bioproduct that showcases the advantages and opportunities associated with the biobased industry. This gave the campers an opportunity to reflect on and display everything they learned in our earlier activities. One camper, for example, did a presentation on polyethylene bioplastic made from sugar cane. She discussed the carbon sequestration that results from manufacturing polyethylene and ended with the statement, “plastic can be made from sugarcane rather than petroleum, and there is nothing sweeter than that.” Our collaboration with Ohio FFA Camp Muskingum was truly rewarding, and hopefully it was enough to inspire the future leaders of the bioeconomy.
This article was written by Bradley Collins, OBIC Student Assistant and Senior at The Ohio State University.