Johnny Morgan, Bracy, Regina P., Guidry, Kenneth J.
GRAMERCY, La. – Students in St. James Parish now have a new kitchen to prepare vegetables they grow on Fast Food Farm, thanks to a $90,000 grant from the Mosaic Company.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Kid’s Kitchen was held on Oct. 2 with community leaders and Mosiac staff on hand to participate in the event.
Fast Food Farm was an idea developed by Denise Hymel, executive director of Fast Food Farm Inc.
Hymnel said the event has been 12 years in the making, but the hard work of so many has finally paid off.
“I started with the idea in 2001,” Hymel said. “It took two years to do the research and to get it going. We had to learn how to form a nonprofit and then learn what we could teach.”
In the beginning, Fast Food Farm focused on fourth-graders through a school program called Making the Connection to help students with the LEAP test, Hymel said.
LSU AgCenter agent Ken Guidry said the site hosts two Ag Days each year for kindergarten through fourth-grade students.
“In the fall, we have St. James Parish kindergarten through second-grade students come out, tour the farm and learn about agriculture and where their food comes from,” Guidry said. “In the spring we have third- and fourth-graders.”
The goal is to teach the students where there food comes from and to help them learn about natural resources and the environment, Guidry said.
Sustaining our food supply starts at the ground level, said Steve Susick, general manager of Mosaic’s Louisiana operations.
“It’s important that we do our part to help our community,” said Susick. “Working with organizations like Fast Food Farm allows us to share that message with children in a fun, friendly environment.”
Guidry said the students will now be able to use the farm year-round because they have air conditioning and running water. Whether the weather is hot, cold or raining, the elements will no longer stop learning.
“We are now able to save money on our purchases because we can buy ahead, and we can store items in one location,” he said. “Before, we had to store things in different people’s houses, but now everything can be kept here.”
LSU AgCenter regional director Regina Bracy called it a wonderful program to educate all.
“It’s a great educational experience, and the kids think it’s fun, so they don’t realize that they are learning,” Bracy said.
Some of the children are surprised by some of the things that grownups take for granted, Bracy said. “Like, you mean my bread comes from plants?”
Guidry said their first AgDay to be held with the new Kid’s Kitchen will be Oct. 17. Fast Food Farm is located at 2042 Golden Grove Street in Gramercy.