Students find out where fast food comes from

Published 10:02 am Tuesday, May 14, 2013

By Kimberly Hopson

GRAMERCY –Third- and fourth-grade students from Vacherie and Lutcher Elementary paid a visit to Gramercy’s Fast Food Farm on Wednesday to get an up close and personal look at where the food they usually see in a drive-through comes from.

The Fast Food Farm is a non-profit organization with a mission to  educate youth and adults about the importance of agriculture and how it produces their favorite fast foods. The farm is a two-acre interactive and educational tour farm that is physically divided into five plots: Hamburger, Hot Dog, Taco, Fries and Chicken.

Each plot broke down the process of food production from the farm to the table, and provided fun, hands-on activities for each student to participate in. Among other activities, students were able to make their own butter, salsa and parfaits, plant seeds, handle baby alligators and watch chicks hatch. Donations from local businesses such as Mosaic provide funding for many of the activities.

Lutcher Elementary School students Jordan Brown and D’Kawn Washington said they have visited the farm several times already but still learn something new each visit. Brown thought the taco station was the most interesting section.

“We didn’t know the chips were made from corn. I like coming every time. It’s kind of interesting,” said 9-year-old Brown.

Fourth-grader D’ Kwan Washington enjoyed learning about the different types of cows and where milk comes from.

“You get to see animals and learn about how they grow. It teaches you things that you could never learn (in the classroom) and didn’t know before,” he said.

Denise Hymel, director of the Fast Food Farm, said she began the initiative 12 years ago after being involved with the Farm Bureau Federation. Hymel said that the best part of the farm is seeing the students’ reactions and watching them and her volunteers develop a sense of ownership.

“In today’s fast-paced world, the kids think that they can just go to the grocery store or drive-through window and get their food. (Here,) they can get a better understanding of food and how it takes to get from start to finish,” said Hymel.

“It’s a lot of work, but the most rewarding part is having those students come here. Seeing their excitement about being able to do something and be a part of it, to hearing the comments from the teachers on how the kids are able to grab and get so much from the hands-on activities is the best part,” she continued.