Several years ago, local staffers with Texas Agrilife Extension decided to try and do something about the disconnect that had taken place between youth and production agriculture. In an effort to give Brazos County 4th graders a better understanding of where the commodities we consume on a daily basis come from, a program dubbed “The Pizza Ranch” was born. Joe Brown has more in this week’s From The Ground Up.
“Kids like pizza. They're familiar with pizza, There's many different components of agriculture that go into the making of an actual pizza, so that's what we've done. We've dissected that piece of pizza into the different slices. One session is beef and pork. The other one is vegetables and herbs. There's a grains slice, a poultry slice, cause there's even chicken pizza out there now.”
Brandon Gregson is the Brazos County agent for 4-H and youth development.
"Food safety is a big concern. We want these kids to know to wash their hands.
We even have a section that talks about ag careers. When they go to the poultry slice they're actually getting to touch and feel the chicken. When they go to the beef slice, they're seeing actual animals and then we have of course cuts of meat laid out, but then all these other things that a kid wouldn't realize comes from a cow."
Eric Zimmerman is the county agent for agriculture and natural resources.
"Teacher feedback is phenomenal. Each year we've seen a growth in the total number of students. This past year, 2009, was our number one attended event. We had almost 1300 fourth grade students from Brazos county."
Many of the 4th graders are seeing some things for the first time.
"This year seeing the kids watch the milk come out of the cow during that mobile dairy classroom presentation, just seeing the look on their face, that's worth it all.
What I hope that we're doing with each of these interactive sessions is creating a new wrinkle in their brains, so to speak, and filling that full of ag awareness."
I’m Joe Brown, tracing the journey our food makes from the farm to our homes, From The Ground Up.