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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Kids learn where food really comes from

Monday, March 24, 2003

(Photo)
Alan Swalls, left, from Growers Co-op, explains processing wheat from the field to the table, to Jordan King, middle, and Josh Bowles. The Van Buren 4th graders were attending the annual Clay County Ag Day program Friday at the 4-H Fairgrounds.

You are what you eat?

"Things you put into your body turns in to your body," said Peggy Davis at the annual Clay County Ag Day on Friday at the 4-H Fairgrounds.

This day was for the county's 4th graders and was the culmination of National Agriculture Week, established to honor farmers.

Melanie Brown, 4-H Youth Extension Educator, said the program was to show children the effect agriculture has on their every day life.

"Many of these kids may not have access to an agricultural background," Brown said. "This gives them, literally, hands on experience."

Pizza was one of the snacks given to the kids. But before they were served, they learned how pizza is made, from the ground up.

Alan Swalls, from Grower's Co-op, explained the process of getting the wheat used to make the pizza crust. Using a visual display, he explained the seeds are planted after the soil is prepared. A sample of winter wheat, looking much like a clump of grass was shown.

During the first part of July, the mature wheat is harvested with a combine which separates the seed from the plant. The seed leaves the farm by truck and is delivered to the local grain elevator.

From there it is shipped to flour mills, usually by train.

Then it goes to manufacturing companies, like Pillsbury, and is used to make bread, cakes or cooking flour.

Peggy Davis was at another display table showing the youngsters how flour was used to make pizza dough. The kids were then allowed to knead the dough to experience part of the bread making process.

The intrigued 4th graders also learned about growing tomatoes and processing them into sauce. They saw how meat was cut up and ground to make hamburger or sausage. Then they ate a piece of the finished product.

The children also had access to 10 to 12 species of animals that are commonly kept on the farm. There were chicks, baby turkeys, rabbits, beef, swine, dairy, sheep, llamas, goats, donkeys and horses. The kids were given an opportunity to touch the animals, see them up close and ask questions.

"It's a fun day," said Brown, "but a day of learning also. The kids love it."

The agriculture story was explained, how the farmer makes his living from livestock and grain. The kids were told the process from the field and hoof to the table to the pocketbook.

The 4th graders came from Clay City, Cloverdale, Cornerstone Christian Academy, East Side, Forest Park, Jackson Township, Meridian, Staunton, Van Buren, and from several home schooled groups.

"This project wouldn't have been possible without volunteers," Brown said. "We had help from 4-H members, 4-H Junior Leaders, Future Farmers of America, Perdue Farms, Krogers, Extension Homemakers, Clay County Cooperative Extension Service employees, Farm Bureau, The Wool Spinners, Growers Co-op and the Utilities District Western Indiana REMC.

The program may not change the way these youngsters eat. But the next time they take a bite of one of their favorite treats, they'll know where it came from.



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