Steps Along the Way

Where do the supplies come from that are made (processed) into the things we eat, wear, and use every day? The raw materials come from Earth’s natural, renewable resources through the work of farmers and growers. Your wool sweater, your strawberry jam sandwich, your hockey stick — they’re all thanks to renewable resources.

What happens to the raw materials between the land and you? It depends on the product. Which goes through more steps: grain between the field and your cereal box and bread, or carrots between the field and your salad bowl? What about your quarter-pound burger? It started out as a thousand-pound steer eating corn, soybean meal, and grass. Your bread began as “amber waves of grain” and your wooden hockey stick as a tree. 

Raw materials go through a cycle of processes before they get to us in forms we can use. After all, a handful of wheat kernels or a hunk of wool freshly shorn from a sheep wouldn’t do us much good in these forms. The food, clothes, and other things we use from agriculture all go through a cycle that:

  • Starts with sunshine, air, water, soil, and plants.
  • Uses energy and equipment.
  • Changes raw materials into many different things.
  • Gets agriculture products to us in forms we can use!