'Everything we have ... comes from a farm or a dairy'
By CAROL RYAN DUMAS
Fresh fruits and vegetable and farm animals replaced books and blocks last week at the North Side Center Head Start preschool in Jerome, Idaho.
The Ag Kidzone Day, hosted by Alltech, a global animal health and nutrition company, aims to educate children on where their food comes from.
"When we ask them, they say the grocery," said Kim Broderick, lead teacher at the center.
Alltech has a curriculum for connecting students with agriculture but hadn't implemented it in the region, said Amy Huddleston, Alltech marketing coordinator for Idaho, Montana, Washington and Oregon.
The company's Jerome office thought it would launch the program locally and teamed up with the College of Southern Idaho Head Start program's North Side Center to present the program on Nov. 18.
Despite the disconnect between consumers and agriculture, ag is the backbone of the local community and the nation, Huddleston said.
"We want them to realize everything we have, our food, the clothes we wear comes from a farm or a dairy," she said.
"The kids are excited about the animals and the real fruits and vegetables. A lot of it's new to them," Broderick said.
Following the lessons on where food comes from and how it's produced, the preschoolers were pretty clear on the origins of some foods.
"Carrots come from in the ground. Cucumbers come from on the ground," A.J. Godoy said.
"Peas grow in the ground," Kiersten Alvarez said.
When asked where milk comes from, the preschoolers shouted "cows."
They were more perplexed by meat, however, looking confused when asked where meat comes from.
When asked where a hot dog comes from, only Keagen De Priest had an answer -- "from dogs, weiner dogs," he said.
He was also the only one who had an answer when asked where hamburgers come from.
"Hamburgers come from ham, and ham comes from dogs," he said.
After the schoolroom lessons and washing and peeling produce, Huddleston and the teachers took the children outside, where members of the Twin Falls Lads and Lasses 4-H club provided rabbits, chickens and calves and answered questions.
Kidzone not only teaches students about food and farming but also the importance of healthy eating. The program was developed in Ireland and is used all over the world.