Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

November 7, 2013

Food and Fiber Roundup shows kids soil to plate process

By Janet Jacobs
Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — Taylor Bailey, Kalen Cope, and Taylor Loflin passed out bunches of basil, balls of dough and other goodies for fourth graders to smell and play with Thursday at the Food and Fiber Roundup at the Navarro County Youth Expo. Helping make it more entertaining, Bailey and Cope dressed up as a giant pea pod and a tomato, respectively. Bailey is a student at Corsicana High, while Cope and Loflin are from Mildred High School.

“It was cool,” said Vondrell Watkins, a student at Carroll Elementary. “We smelled the stuff. Some of it smelled good and some of it didn’t. It was awesome.”

The roundup has been an on-going event in Navarro County since the late ‘90s, when it became clear that local children didn’t have a clue where their food and clothing came from, explained Mike Gage, former AgriLife Extension Agent, who explained about beef cattle to the children Thursday.

There were presentations on beef and dairy cattle, water, cotton, wheat, vegetables (Your Plate), and swine, with live cows, tractors, and a tiny cotton gin to help kids get the complete picture.

For Carroll Elementary School children Edgar Yvon and Nolan Bain, the milk cow was the best part of the event.

“They showed how you milk a cow. It was fun how they did it,” Yvon said.

In all, 763 kids paraded through the various stations in the arena, hearing 15 or so minutes of each presentation before being led to the next set of bleachers. The students came from Collins Catholic, Sam Houston, Bowie, Carroll, Frost, Dawson, Blooming Grove, Mildred, Fannin, Rice and Kerens elementary schools.

“The Food and Fiber Roundup came about when we identified a need to educate children about where their food and clothing comes from,” Gage explained. “What we’re trying to accomplish is to explain they don’t just go to the grocery store for these things. There’s a story behind how it gets there.”

Fourth grade was targeted because it’s an age where kids are beginning to question their world and understand some larger concepts, Gage added.

“There’s a lot of misinformation out there — is our food safe? But in the United States we truthfully enjoy one of the healthiest food supplies in the world, and only one percent of the population is responsible for producing it,” he said.

For Samaya Hines and Pilar Garcia, both of Carroll Elementary, it was a fun way to spend the morning.

“It was interesting,” Garcia said.

“It’s fun. They showed us lots of things about cows,” Hines said.

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Janet Jacobs may be reached via email at jjacobs@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “sound off” to this article? Email: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com