tulare – As agriculture is an integral part of our community and county, education about the industry is just as important. On Monday, May 8 students at Francis J. White Learning Center learned first-hand about the role of agriculture in the food supply, how milk and dairy foods get from the farm to the table, and received a visit from a real cow and calf.
Dairy Council of California’s Mobile Dairy Classroom Assembly is California’s original Farm to School program, originating in the 1930s. This learning lab teaches kindergarten through sixth grade students about food literacy, where milk and dairy foods come from, cow care on the farm, all five food groups, the milking process and agriculture technology. Language arts, math and science are integrated into the lesson, which aligns with Common Core State Standards. The Mobile Dairy Classroom complements other nutrition education programs offered by Dairy Council of California, including free, in-classroom nutrition curriculum. When the assembly follows the classroom nutrition lessons designed to build healthy-eating behaviors from all five food groups, students make a powerful food literacy connection.
“For many students, this is the first opportunity they have to see a cow up close,” said Michael McDougal, the Mobile Dairy Classroom instructor who taught the assembly at Francis J. White Learning Center. “And while the students are having fun, the lessons they are learning are important. Through the assembly and other Dairy Council of California nutrition education programs, kids enhance their food literacy skills, ultimately obtaining a better understanding of where their milk comes from, how it gets to the school cafeteria, and why it’s important to make healthy choices from all five food groups.”
This learning continues in the school cafeteria where Dairy Council of California and partners like the California Department of Education and University of California Cooperative Extension provide technical assistance implementing behavioral economics with the Smarter Lunchroom Movement, a program that encourages students to making better nutrition decisions by changing the way food choices are presented in cafeterias. Today, the Mobile Dairy Classroom reaches more than 450,000 students, with six full-time instructors who travel to elementary schools, agriculture days and fairs throughout California. The assemblies are offered at no cost to schools and are part of dairy farm families’ and dairy companies’ efforts to give back to the community.
For nearly a century, Dairy Council of California has partnered with educators, health professionals and communities to elevate the health of children and parents through the pursuit of lifelong healthy eating habits. Funded by California’s dairy farm families and local dairy companies, Dairy Council of California’s science-based nutrition education resources, Mobile Dairy Classroom assemblies, training programs and online tools reach millions in California and throughout the United States. Learn more at HealthyEating.org.