Path to the Plate at the South Texas Farm and Ranch Show helps more than 600 third-grade students in Victoria experience the importance of agriculture and the relevance of agricultural products in our lives.

With this program, children easily make the connection between agriculture and their plate. The goal is to make the students food-smart, while having fun.

That connection is even more important today, when only 2% of the U.S. population lives and works on farms, producing food and fiber for the other 98% of the population.

Path to the Plate is an unbiased look at how agriculture and the food that consumers eat affects their health. It is designed to provide relevant, current and factual information that students and adults use to make informed decisions about agriculture, food, and their health.

This youth expo is an expansion of the traditional agricultural literacy events, because it is designed to specifically make the connection between agriculture and health. This special agricultural awareness program gives students the opportunity to rotate through the following educational sessions: Moo U, Food Around the World, Water Stream Trailer, Meet the Meats, What’s on your Plate, and Egg to Chick.

Path to the Plate will run Wednesday and Thursday. The program is geared for 8-9-year-olds.

Our educational programming partners include Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Victoria County Master Gardeners Association, Southwest Dairy Farmers Mobile Dairy Classroom, Victoria County 4-H and 4-H Ambassadors, Victoria Extension Education Association, and Texas Farm Bureau.

The Victoria County 4-H Ambassadors help facilitate the sessions. They not only keep each session on time, they also aid in the flow of students from one session to the next. This greatly contributes to the overall learning experience.

Path to the Plate allows agriculture to be the perfect context for teachers, agriculture advocates, and community volunteers to teach health and nutrition, as well as share their passion for educating others about agriculture, food, and natural resources.

The world’s population is estimated to increase to 9 billion by 2050. It is imperative that we train and educate the next generation. One day, they will be responsible for feeding our world.

Gayle Bludau is the Victoria County Family Community Health Extension Agent Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. 

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