Twenty-five years ago in an effort to teach people the importance of agriculture in their lives the then Texas Extension Service created a curriculum targeting primarily third and fourth graders. Kids, Kows & More is a mobile program that set out to explain the importance of food and fiber and where they come from. Sandra Pierce is a Program Specialist with Texas A&M Agrilife Extension and Director of the Kids & Kows and More Program.
“When you ask a kid where your milk comes from, they’re going to tell you the grocery store. When you ask kids where do you get your jeans from, they’re going to tell you the mall or from Walmart. We want them to know that that food doesn’t just come from the grocery store. It comes from that cow. It comes from that chicken. It comes from those plants that grow outside in the soil. We want them to know that their clothes come from that cotton plant, and so many kids don’t realize that, and most kids when you ask them and you test them and you ask them where does cotton come from, they’ll tell you it comes from sheep.”
Pierce says the first challenge is getting adults to buy into the need for the program.
“The hardest part is getting the administrators to realize the importance of agriculture and that the kids need to come out and so we always invite the administrators. We invite City Council. We invite County Commissioners, so they can come and see the program and they realize how important agriculture is, because most of them really don’t.”
Pierce believes that a big part of the problem is that we live in such an instant gratification society.
“We get on Amazon, we get on the internet and we order anything that we want and it’s at our doorstep within twenty-four hours. And we’re used to that. And we want that. And agriculture takes a while. You don’t go out there and plant a seed today and see it grow tomorrow. You plant the seed. You water it. You watch it. It comes up. You have to go out there and pick the weeds. It’s not something that happens overnight. When you have a little baby chicken in your hands, you have that little baby chicken and tomorrow you’re not eating drum sticks. You have to make that chicken grow. You have to feed it. You have to water it. You have to care for it.”
It’s been said, if you eat you’re involved in agriculture. According to Pierce, all the better reason to learn about something that touches our daily lives.