Food literacy taught at St. James Parish Ag Day

Johnny Morgan  |  4/18/2018 6:41:34 PM

(04/18/18) GRAMERCY, La. — Students from throughout St. James Parish got a chance to learn where their food comes from during Ag Day on April 13.

The event has been held for 11 years at the Fast Food Farm in Gramercy, said LSU AgCenter agent Ken Guidry. Ag Day takes place twice a year.

“The fall event is held for third- and fourth-grade students, and in the spring for kindergarteners through second-grade students,” Guidry said.

Ag Day features 30 stations that teach about the role of agriculture in everyday life. Through hands-on activities with farm animals, plant seeds, fruits and vegetables, the students get to see where their food and other products come from, Guidry said.

At one station, the children used soybean oil and beeswax to make lip balm. AgCenter 4-H agent Dawn Culbreath said the activity served as a lesson about pollination and how plants like soybeans have many uses.

“Some of the students said they don’t like soybeans,” she said. “Then I told them if they like fried chicken and french fries, the oil they are cooked in comes from soybeans.”

Gramercy Elementary Magnet School lead teacher Kimberly Duhé has been bringing students to the Fast Food Farm from the beginning, and she said it’s nice to see some of her former students in leadership roles during Ag Day now.

“Ag Day is just a good idea to help them to understand that their food comes from a farm and not from some can on a store shelf,” she said. “Each teacher will get a bag of goodies to take back to their schools and for the children to take home with them.”

Leah Valdez, a special education teacher at Fifth Ward Elementary School in Reserve, said she believes Ag Day gives the students a different perspective than what they have before they attend the event.

“Many of the students are aware of agriculture just because of where they live,” she said. “This is just another way to show them more about the process.”

Patrick Tuck, executive director of the Louisiana 4-H Foundation, said the Capital Area United Way partly funded the event again this year.

“The Capital Area United Way has awarded the Louisiana 4-H organization a three-year grant to help fund four parish 4-H Seeds of Service school and community gardens,” he said. “Again this year, Fast Food Farm is one of the gardens to be funded.”

Ag Day is a collaborative effort of the AgCenter, St. James Parish 4-H, the Fast Food Farm board of directors, the St. James Parish Public School System, the ProStart restaurant education program, the Capital Area United Way, agriculture classes at the St. James Parish Career and Technology Center, and other local businesses and industry partners. Mosaic Louisiana operations is a corporate sponsor.

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AgCenter 4-H agent Dawn Culbreath shows students how to make lip balm with soybean oil and beeswax during Ag Day at Fast Food Farm in Gramercy on April 13. The children also received lessons about pollination and how plants are used to cook other foods. Photo by Johnny Morgan/LSU AgCenter

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Leah Valdez, a special education teacher at Fifth Ward Elementary School in St. James Parish, shares a lesson on how plants grow during Ag Day at Fast Food Farm in Gramercy on April 13. Photo by Johnny Morgan/LSU AgCenter

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Students from St. James Parish get up close and personal with agriculture during Ag Day at Fast Food Farm in Gramercy on April 13. Photo by Johnny Morgan/LSU AgCenter

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