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Australian adults’ knowledge of Australian agriculture

Anthony Worsley (School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood, Australia)
Wei Wang (School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood, Australia)
Stacey Ridley (School of exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood, Australia)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 5 January 2015

Abstract

Purpose

Agriculture is a major generator of wealth and employment in Australia. However, it faces a range of economic and environmental challenges which require substantial community support. The purpose of this paper is to examine Australian adults’ Australian knowledge of, and attitudes towards, Australian agriculture.

Design/methodology/approach

Online questionnaire survey of 1,026 adults conducted nationwide during August 2012.

Findings

Most respondents had little knowledge of even the basic aspects of the industry but they approved of farmers’ performance of their roles. Latent class analysis showed that there are two groups of consumers with low and lower levels of knowledge. The respondents’ age, rural residence and universalist values were positive predictors of agricultural knowledge.

Research limitations/implications

This was a cross-sectional, quota-based survey which examined only some aspects of agriculture. However, the findings suggest that more communication with the general public about the industry is required in order to build on the positive sentiment that exists within the community.

Practical implications

More education about agriculture in schools and higher education is indicated.

Social implications

The poor state of knowledge of agriculture threatens the social contract upon which agricultural communities depend for survival.

Originality/value

The study highlights the poor state of general knowledge about agriculture in Australia. The findings could be used as a baseline against which the efficacy of future education programmes could be assessed.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by a grant from Meat and Livestock Australia. The authors would like to thank Veronique Droulez (MLA) and Ruth Redfern (NFF) for their help and encouragement.

Citation

Worsley, A., Wang, W. and Ridley, S. (2015), "Australian adults’ knowledge of Australian agriculture", British Food Journal, Vol. 117 No. 1, pp. 400-411. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-07-2013-0175

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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