Today we are featuring a fantastic program that is working hard to create healthy kids in Oklahoma! Farm to You is a traveling interactive adventure for elementary school children that follows food from the farm to the market and through the body to explore the relationships between agriculture, food and health, ultimately showing how making good food choices positively impacts your health.
See what Cody Yount, the Farm to You exhibit coordinator, had to say about this great program:
How long has the Farm to You program been around in Oklahoma? How did it come about and what organizations helped the idea come to fruition?
Farm to You is a collaborative effort of the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service (Family and consumer sciences, 4H and agricultural education programs), OSU Department of Nutritional Sciences, Oklahoma State Department of Health (WIC service) and Southwest Dairy Farmers. The program was developed to address major issues facing Oklahoma youth (i.e. low consumption of fruits and vegetables, sedentary lifestyle, increasing rates of childhood obesity, and high prevalence of tooth decay). Since August of 2008, the exhibit has taught more than 100,000 elementary students about agriculture, nutrition, physical activity and health in 74 counties.
What type of information do the kids take away after visiting the Farm to You exhibit? What kinds of reactions and feedback do you get from the students and teachers/school staff?
Simply put, the exhibit is designed to involve kindergarten through 6th-grade students in learning how foods from the farm are used by their bodies for good health. We receive a number of different responses from the students and teachers. Primarily, teachers comment on how much their students connect what they learned during the Farm to You visit with the lessons they are giving. Student response is greatly varied, but students consistently comment about learning of the importance of a varied diet and maintaining good hygiene.
We have really enjoyed working with students in Oklahoma through Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension for a number of years now. How does the Farm to You program complement The OrganWise Guys healthy living messages?
Farm to You and The OrganWise Guys programming complement each other very well. Students at schools using The OrganWise Guys curriculum have a solid grasp on nutrition education. These students engage in fruitful discussions with the station presenters, and ask thoughtful questions. Conversely, Farm to You provides an immersive, interactive experience that serves to reinforce The OrganWise Guys healthy living messages.
If a school in Oklahoma is interested in having the exhibit come for visit, what is necessary for scheduling and how long does it typically take to get it confirmed on the calendar?
A Farm to You visit is free. The requirements for a visit are as follows:
- Have an indoor space available of 40ft by 40ft (half basketball court)
- Have between 250 – 450 students from K – 6th grades per day. Groups of approximately 10 kids will enter the exhibit every 6 minutes.
- Have 5 – 8 volunteers the day before to set up the exhibit and 5 – 8 volunteers to take down. No children should be present during set up.
- Have 10 volunteer station presenters to work from 8 am to 3 pm. It would be nice to have water bottles for them. Presenters typically include: teachers, parents, grandparents, high school Future Farmers of America (FFA) or honors societies and OK Home and Community Education (OHCE) volunteers.
Any school interested in scheduling the Farm to You exhibit should contact their local county extension office, or contact Cody Yount directly at least a month ahead of the date they are interested in hosting the exhibit.