While most children can easily locate their favorite drive-through restaurant, the American Farm Bureau Women’s Committee is striving to make sure young people know fast food first starts on the farm.
The St. James Parish Ag Day was designed for just that reason. Held at the Fast Food Farm in Gramercy, Louisiana, the ag day served as a perfect time for school-age children to learn about the industry using foods they already eat.
Denise Hymel, owner and American Farm Bureau Women’s Committee member, says the farm and event show children food does not just appear at a fast food restaurant.
“Here, we make sure that they learn the origin of their food and who is responsible for providing us with that food,” Hymel said. “We also take them through the complex system of what it takes to get it to that finished product that they can so enjoy.”
Sherry Saylor, American Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee chair, said events at places like Hymel’s farm are critical in developing consumers’ understanding and appreciation for agriculture.
“When they go get that McDonald’s hamburger or that taco, it just doesn’t show up on their plate,” Saylor said. “There were a lot of hands that prepared it. A lot of people that grew the different commodities that go into making that, whether it’s the corn, or the tomatoes or the garlic or the sugar.”
Saylor said this event is also essential to improve the agricultural industry’s transparency and future.
“Something like this is so transparent,” Saylor said. “I think that’s what we have to do in agriculture is be transparent about what we do.”
In addition, Isabella Chism, American Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee vice chair, said the lessons children learn today will stay with them for a lifetime.
“These children grow up and these children are going to be the voters. These children are going to be the legislators,” Chism said. “These children are going to know that they can go to a farm or they can ask a question. It’s not just about visiting here and having a fun day.”
Fast food is a $200 billion a year industry according to the website Statista.