Nearly two dozen students craned their necks to see the green plants and bright, booming flowers as their buses arrived Wednesday at the Food and Agriculture Literacy Center at Mykawa Farm.
As they got off the bus, they bounded toward a hollowed-out tree trunk, eager to visit the workstations designed to help them connect classroom science to real-life agriculture, nutrition, and the natural world.
“We’re here today to share with you how food comes from the soil and ends up on your plate,” said Marcus Glenn, Area Manager for Nutrition Services Food and Agriculture Literacy.
The Food and Agriculture Literacy Center at Mykawa Farm is a working educational farm that integrates nutrition and food science with core curriculum to provide students with hands-on learning experiences.
On Wednesday, the farm held its first-ever Food and Agriculture Day, inviting 20 elementary, middle, and high school students to participate in rotating sessions like user-friendly gardens, water conservation, flower pollination, food nutrients, and healthy meals.
“I really enjoy learning about agriculture and nutrition,” said Worthing High School senior Nathalia Robles, who has been in an agriculture linked learning pathway since her freshman year. “That’s inspired me to become a nurse.”
Nutrition Services Chef Trainer Glenn Topfer treated students to a food demonstration using tomatoes, bell peppers, olives, carrots, lettuce, olive oil, and shredded cheese.
“The peppers are sweet,” several students squealed after the tasting.
Some of the ingredients came from the deep, brown furrows of the farm’s Market Garden, designed for high school students to plant, harvest, and sell crops, and learn about agribusiness.
One of the more popular workstations showcased bees and flower pollination. The station was led by Lamar High School senior Lisa Rollinson, an FFA student and certified Health Ambassador for a Ready Texas, a program offered by the Texas Department of Agriculture that recognizes exceptional Texas high school students who champion healthy lifestyles for their peers.
“It’s a lot of fun for younger students to observe the mobile beehive and letting them taste field honey for the first time,” she said.
Director of Food and Agriculture Literacy Nan Cramer said students benefit from the experiential learning. The farm aims to provide students with a foundational knowledge of food and where it comes from by giving them the opportunity to plant and grow a garden, harvest and prepare produce, and share the bounty.
“We are planning many more field trips for our students in the coming school year” Cramer said.