BY CARLA VAUGHT –
The U of A Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service is one of the many partners implementing the 21st Century Families Grant at Acorn campus this year. County Extension Agent Carla Vaught is spending every other Monday working with the program conducting a program called AgVentures. The number one concern of the extension advisory council agriculture committee in Polk County is the lack of knowledge among the general public about where their food comes from. AgVentures is a science based program developed by Vaught to help teach students about modern food production. Lessons include hands on activities as well as a presentation at each session about an aspect of a commodity produced in Polk County or a commodity trending at the time. This partnership and series of lessons are being designed to help students become more agriculture literate. Lessons touch on the economic impact of agriculture in Polk County as well as possible careers in agriculture science fields.
The first session of AgVentures featured table egg production. The students participated in a virtual field trip to an egg farm. Following their tour, students evaluated eggs and looked at the exterior and interior of eggs purchased in a local grocery store. They also got to look at eggs produced in a local backyard flock. This observation lead to learning about egg grades and uniformity of a carton of eggs. After the physical evaluation, a blind taste test of scrambled eggs was conducted. Students involved couldn’t distinguish any differences in any of the types of eggs. This lead to a discussion about the cost per dozen of eggs and whether they perceived any one type of egg should be priced higher than the others. Students were also challenged to eat a pickled quail egg on Halloween. They certainly looked like “eyeballs”.
Lesson two took students to another poultry farm. This time it was a broiler flock virtual tour. The Alabama Extension service produced this tour and took youth on a tour from day one until catching at 59 days of age. Following the tour, students learned to read food labels and determine the nutritional value of a chicken quesadilla prepared as a snack in the classroom. Before each student could eat their snack, they had to tell Vaught the calorie count and how it would fit into their daily food plan based on the MyPlate nutritional guideline.
Next lesson up for the month of November will be on turkey production and nutrition.
For more information about youth programs conducted by the U of A Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service, contact the local Polk County Office at 211 DeQueen Street in Mena. Our phone number is 479-394-6018. We can be reached by email at email@example.com