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Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

Farm to You exhibit teaches children about agriculture and health

STILLWATER, Okla. – Oklahoma school children are learning about how the foods they eat get from the farm to their dinner table and how this food is used for good health.

Farm to You is an interactive, walk-through display geared toward kindergarten through sixth grade students. The exhibit features 10 stations that take the students from the farm and through the body.

Farm to You is a collaborative effort of the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, Oklahoma State University’s Department of Nutritional Sciences, Oklahoma State Department of Health and Southwest Dairy Farmers. Since August 2008, the exhibit has taught more than 112,000 elementary students about agriculture, nutrition, physical activity and health in 72 counties.

Lauren Amaya, OSU Cooperative Extension youth nutrition specialist, said it is important for children to know where food comes from and how their food choices are related to their health.

Poor eating habits and sedentary lifestyles among Oklahoma’s youth indicate the need to educate children on the importance of eating healthy and being physically active.

“The importance of the information provided in this exhibit can be found in the major health issues affecting our target audience—Oklahoma’s youth,” Amaya said. “Recent data shows nearly half of children in the state don’t usually consume fruits, and about 40 percent of children consume less than one serving of vegetables per day. Also, among Oklahoma fifth graders, only a third of children meet recommended physical activity levels each day.”

Excessive consumption of calories and low physical activity levels contribute to being overweight and obesity, which are major concerns in Oklahoma’s youth. Being overweight or obese as a child increases the risk of developing health issues in adulthood, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, certain cancers and osteoarthritis.

Amaya said other issues affecting this age group include the high prevalence of dental decay, low consumption of dairy foods and high rates of smoking among adolescents.

“Behaviors, including eating habits and lifestyle practices, are developed in childhood, so it is essential to promote healthy living at an early age. The Farm to You exhibit does just that,” she said.

The 10 stations that make up the agricultural and health adventure include Farmer Pete’s Garden, Protein, Dairy, Grains, Mouth, Stomach, Small Intestine, Muscle, Bone and Skin. Groups of 10 students will spend about six minutes at each station participating in activities and learning about the relationships between agriculture, food and health.

Cody Yount serves as the state coordinator for Farm to You, and said the exhibit will travel to any part of the state.

“Any school that wants to have the exhibit should contact their local OSU Cooperative Extension office first,” Yount said. “The county office then contacts me and I schedule it and train the personnel.”

The school must have a 40 feet by 40 feet by 10 feet high indoor space available, at least eight volunteers to set it up and take it down and nine volunteers to be station presenters. Ideally the school should have between 250 and 400 students available to walk through the exhibit.

“Many children don’t know where food comes from and how their food choices are related to their health,” Yount said. “This exciting adventure will help Oklahoma children make this connection.”

More information about Farm to You is available at www.farmtoyou.okstate.edu, or by contacting Yount at 405-713-1125, or cody.w.yount@okstate.edu.

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Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Higher Education Act), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal and state laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, genetic information, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, or status as a veteran, in any of its policies, practices or procedures.  This provision includes, but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services. The Director of Equal Opportunity, 408 Whitehurst, OSU, Stillwater, OK 74078-1035; phone 405-744-5371; email: eeo@okstate.edu has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies: Director of Equal Opportunity. Any person (student, faculty, or staff) who believes that discriminatory practices have been engaged in based on gender may discuss his or her concerns and file informal or formal complaints of possible violations of Title IX with OSU’s Title IX Coordinator 405-744-9154.

Trisha Gedon
Communications Specialist
Agricultural Communications Services
136 Agriculture North
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK  74078
405-744-3625 (phone)
405-744-5739 (fax)
trisha.gedon@okstate.edu

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater, OK 74078
405.744.5000