LOOKINGGLASS — Whether it’s the clothes you wear, the milk you drink, the meat you eat, or the many wood products used in everyday life, many kids think it all just comes from the store.
But Farm Day at the Lookingglass Grange on Wednesday gave students from Lookingglass Elementary School a first-hand look at where many of their everyday necessities come from.
“Hopefully they can learn where their food, shelter and clothing come from,” said Candy Maidens of the grange, which was a key player in organizing the event. “They’re really excited to learn about agriculture.”
Maidens said the grange was able to get good community participation for the event from the Lookingglass Fire Department, the Douglas County Farm Bureau, the FFA, the Umpqua Spinners and Weavers, and several grange members, who displayed gardening, beekeeping and other activities. There was even an FFA forestry booth to teach kids where wood products originate.
The Douglas High School FFA sent 42 members to work at the event, transporting groups of elementary students through about a dozen exhibits inside the building and to see live animal exhibits outside. Nearly 200 kindergarten through sixth grade students participated in the event.
“Unfortunately in our country, national resource and ag literacy is a problem. People don’t understand where their food comes from and they don’t understand where the lumber to build their homes comes from,” said Rob Holbeck, the Douglas High School FFA adviser.
Some FFA members answered questions for the students, while others manned the forestry booth and tended the animals that were on display outside the building.
“We’re just trying to educate the kids as much as we can about agriculture and how it helps the community,” said Taylor Davis, an FFA member and senior at Douglas High School.
“They’re pretty interested, especially in the wood,” added Natalya Lane, from the FFA.
Teachers felt it was valuable to get some hands-on lessons for the kids.
“We were given some lessons to do in the classroom before we came over trying to figure out which products came from which animal,” said second grade teacher Kristal Plikat. “For them to come over and see it hands on, it’s fabulous. I love it.”
They could get up close to the baby lambs, small horses, goats and a large cow, and even some farm machinery.
Maidens said the grange promotes agriculture, so the event was a good way to get their message out to a young audience about agriculture and community.
The kids got to see wool from the sheep converted into material and see a honeybee hive where bees make their honey.
Many of the kids had never seen farm animals up close, so there were some interesting questions posed to the FFA members from the some of the elementary school kids. It was an eye-opener for a lot of them.
“This little boy asked if one of the lambs out there was actually a puppy,” said Davina Jordy, a freshman in the FFA. “I told him, no, this is a lamb.”
Umpqua Weavers and Spinners member Amber Brown said she likes to show the kids how material is made to make clothes.
“They look at you kind of funny when they realize their clothing starts out over there with raw sheep wool,” Brown said. “That’s definitely an eye-opener.”
Teachers at the event felt it was a big success and it kept the students’ attention.
“They love finding out where the wood comes from and what they do with it,” said fourth grade teacher Paulette Goodman. “But they really loved the animals.”