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Continuing a Legacy--Food for America Educates Students About Agriculture

From left to right; Sophomore Dylan Ratliff, freshman Levi Foley, and freshman Riley Wentz pose beside their "Huntin' and Fishin'" booth. (Photo by Emily Southern)

By Riley Cockram--Eagle Staff Writer

FFA stands for Food for America, an organization that changes lives and prepares students for leadership, and career success through agricultural education. It's made for a different kind of FFA, Future Farmers of America, to allow these students, both on campus and around the country, to develop critical thinking and effective decision-making skills.

“[Food for America] is a program that was developed by the national FFA organization, something we may know as Future Farmers for America," Jean Capps, agriculture teacher and FFA sponsor reiterated. "What we do is educate youths, young adults, and adults on agriculture, [especially] where their food comes from."

Franklin County High School held its Food for America event on Friday, April 8th on the track field for hundreds of fourth graders across the county. There were displays featuring games to play, farm animals, agriculture presentations, greenhouse plants, and much more. Each booth had FFA high school students sharing information with elementary students about their topic.

“Food for America is important because the kids need to learn where food comes from, how important it is to America, and what they can do,” said freshman Levi Foley, who created a hunting and fishing booth with some classmates. “I hope they learn a little bit of everything from agriculture to hunting, tractors to landscaping. These are all skills they’re gonna use as they get older.”

Several booths were dedicated to furry farm friends, which the fourth graders seemed to enjoy.

Fourth graders from all 12 elementary schools were able to feed and interact with horses, as well as practice roping. (Photo by Emily Southern)

”It’s been pretty fun," a student from Glade Hill Elementary commented. "I learned about the different types of food the horses eat and the types of horses.”

One station got lots of attention from both high schoolers and elementary students: dogs. Presenter Julia Hagy, junior, chose the topic because of her deep love for dogs: "Animals are better than humans," she explained. After visiting this station, a Glade Hill student commented, "I really want to take agriculture. I wanna do the vet classes."

In the Veterinary Science class mentioned, students learn about all kinds of animals, including pigs, which were brought to this event by freshman William Blankenship.

"They're interesting, definitely something else," he commented about the pigs. "We set up the fence and everything but it wasn’t too bad, didn’t take too long. [I talked about pigs today because the kids] need to learn where food comes from, what farmers have to go through, and that farming isn't what so many people think it is. It’s not harmful to animals, they don’t suffer, nothing like that.”

While presentations were happening along the track, inside the field there were games for kids to play, all run by Jessica Leftwich, Early Child Education teacher and FCCLA sponsor, and her students.

Games at the Food for America event ranged from relay races to roping activities and even a fishing game. (Photo by Emily Southern)

“For this event, I thought it would be good for these student teachers to come up with games for the kids to play. It taught them how to plan and execute. The teen teachers picked the games, divided into teams, and decided how they wanted to create them.”

All around, students and teachers seemed to be proud of the event.

Beth Hodges, Lee M. Waid Elementary teacher, believed her students would take away more than just fun memories from the event.

“I absolutely think this is important, especially given our county, and the agriculture that's present, and some of the kids [having] background knowledge on it. [However,] a lot do not and they are loving it. The high school students have done a great job, and they’re very knowledgeable about their station. I hope that [my students] take away the work that's involved with agriculture and the determination it takes to keep it going and also the importance it plays in our daily lives.”

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