From Our Lands to Your Hands Expo
The definition of agriculture in the Webster Dictionary is fairly straight forward; “The science, art, and business of cultivating soil, producing crops, and raising livestock; farming.” But agriculture touches our lives on a daily basis from the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the products we use on a daily basis, as well as the wildlife that flourishes on the open spaces of agriculture lands, the history and culture that formed where we live, and the overall diversity. However, agriculture within itself is not something we think of everyday. When we are putting on our leather sneakers, how often do think about the cow that was raised from eating the alfalfa, the corn, the rangeland, and the water that provided us the leather for the shoes? That is exactly what the Second Annual From Our Lands To Your Hands event set out to do; to teach local fourth grade students the importance of agriculture in their daily lives, as well as put a face with local producers.
The Boulder Valley and Longmont Conservation District host this event, with partnership from the Longmont Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Service Agency, Colorado State Extension Boulder County, and Boulder County Parks and Open Space. This year the Boulder County Commissioners awarded the Districts funds to provide bus transportation for the students. Sponsorships from Quality Irrigation, American Pride Co-Op, Valley Irrigation, Pawnee Butte Seed Company, Laber Livestock, and Bill and Jean Turner provided lunch for the presenters, volunteers, and group leaders.
This year on February 3, 2011 approximately 470 fourth grade students participated in the From Our Lands to Your Hands event from Alexander Dawson, Blue Mountain, Central, Centennial, Mead, Prairie Ridge, and Spangler Elementary Schools. The exhibit building was full of fresh minds who engaged in the hands-on presentations for the variety of presenters. Although the organizers of the event would enjoy having every fourth grade class be able to attend this event, space is limited. Local schools were invited and those who were first to respond were registered to attend. The goal for this event is to be able to expand in the future to accommodate additional students.
Students rotated through their pod, named after local granges, every 15 minutes and throughout the day were able to see presentations from 11 of the 35 different presenters. The Saint Vrain Valley and Johnstown Future Farmers of America (FFA) students, as well as the Boulder County Naturalists provided invaluable assistance as they served as group leaders to lead the students through the planned rotations. The presenters were a diverse representation from a variety of agriculture organizations, local producers, and conservation programs, who volunteered their time, their passion, and their knowledge to improve agriculture literacy in Boulder County. The presenters for the Second Annual event were; Boulder County Agriculture Heritage Center, Boulder County Farm Service Agency, Anderson Farms, Boulder County Bee Keepers, Boulder County Parks and Open Space Agriculture Division, Cal-Wood Education Center, Colorado Cattlewomen, Colorado Corn Growers Association, Colorado Department of Wildlife, Colorado Department of Public Health Agriculture Division, Colorado State Forest Service, Colorado State University School of Agriculture, Colorado State Extension Adams and Boulder Counties, Growing Gardens, Hand Weavers Guild, Zeb Dennis Horseshoeing, Isabelle Farms, Van Thuyne Farms, Laber Farms, Houston Natural Beef, NRCS Snow Survey, NRCS Soil Survey, NRCS Rangeland, Red Wagon Organic Farm, Saint Vrain Progressive Farmers, Weld County Weed Division, Western Dairy Association, and Western Sugarbeet Growers.
The Saint Vrain Valley and Johnstown Future Farmers of America (FFA) students, as well as the Boulder County Naturalists provided invaluable assistance as they lead each school group through the multitude of presentations as group leaders.
Watching the faces of the children who attend this event who are excited to sit in a tractor for the first time, who get to see how honey is made, learn how to weave, what a cow eats, where we get our water for irrigation, to taste a Sugarbeet, to look at how eggs are produced, or to feel the different grains and seed that grow our crops then you know this is a worthwhile and needed event. We thank every presenter, FFA student, naturalist, volunteers, sponsors, Conservation District Supervisors, and staff that supported and helped with this event. Without the collaborative effort of these amazing people this event would not have been possible.
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Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said that work on climate-smart agricultural policies should take place in the next two years so that Congress has experiences from which to learn before writing the 2023 farm bill.