WEST SALEM, Wisconsin (WXOW) - On Tuesday, the West Salem High School Chapter of Food For America hosted an event to teach elementary school students where their food comes from. Over 150 fourth graders from West Salem, Christ- St John's, and Bangor attended the event which was held at the La Crosse County Fairgrounds and local farms.
"There's a lot of kids today that think their food just comes from the grocery store," said Mike Larson, West Salem High School Agriculture Teacher and FFA Advisor. "We're trying to educate the 4th graders about the big picture. The farm production, dairy production and stuff like that… We just want them to have a better understanding where their food comes from."
"Some of these kids come here not knowing what an animal looks like in person. We've had multiple kids ask if a sheep is a goat," said Ronni Clements, West Salem Sophomore and FFA Secretary. "Growing up on a farm, it's like ‘how can they not?' But then you think it's sad. Years before kids rode horses to school and now they don't even know what a sheep looks like."
During the event, students visited a local dairy farm, a horse farm, and an organic vegetable farm, and learned about farm animals up-close. The kids were able to touch and feed the animals, a new experience for many.
"I've seen them on TV and stuff but I've never seen them live," said Sam Stuevs, 4th Grader at Christ-St. John's Lutheran School. "It was pretty cool because I finally got to see them and pet them and see how big they are."
"I really like animals," said Katie Murphy, 4th Grader at West Salem Elementary School.
"So I was excited to see the animals because I haven't been on too many farms before."
And what was taught during the FFA program clearly made an impression. By the end of the event, it was hard to believe that for many students this was their first experience with agriculture.
"Those pigs back there, they're like 150 pounds right now," said Jadyn Larson, 4th Grader at Bangor Elementary School. "And in a month, when they get their feed, they gain weight and it's just unbelievable. They weight like 200 pounds at the end of the month."
"I've always wanted to live on a farm," said Murphy. "And I think that would be a good thing to do when I grow up."
This is the second year the West Salem High School chapter of Food For America has hosted this event.
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