Farm to You offers a unique experience for students who are interested in agriculture.
The intended audience is students between first and sixth grade, Community Nutrition Education Programs develops it. Farm to You is free. Its goal is to help young students identify different types of food, physical activity and good dental hygiene.
Jenni Klufa, the associate state extension specialist and interim Farm to You coordinator, has overseen the operations. There are two different learning opportunities that are available for students.
The traditional Farm to You experience has more requirements than the virtual option. She said the organization travels in a van across Oklahoma to elementary schools and needs volunteers to make it happen.
Farm to You is one of four nutrition programs in the extension program. The others nutrition extensions are Teen Cuisine, Catch, and Kick it Up.
It is an advantage OSU has over other universities in the state as a land-grant university.
“The extension role is to take the information, research and evidence we learn on campus through all of our amazing scientists and translate it for the general public,” Klufa said.
They set up nine stations for the students to travel through them within an hour. At the end of the exhibit, students are given out “passports” on what they learned, and the teachers give feedback.
According to extension.okstate.edu, the minimum number of students who need to participate is 250 people each day and a 40-by-40 foot indoor facility that is also clean. During the traditional format, they did nearly 20 or more visits a year around Oklahoma.
Along with students participating, the farm needs volunteers to help. Volunteers can be high school students, members of the community, parents and more. At least 12 people must be at the exhibit each day and eight to set it up each day its is open.
Since the pandemic happened in 2020, there was a virtual Farm to You created to accommodate virtual learning.
According to extension.okstate.edu, requirements for the virtual Farm to You is having a good internet connection and Zoom feed in classrooms. More requirements are technology tests prior to the visit and teachers to talk to students about the farm. The virtual Farm to You has no requirements on how people decide to join the farm.
All virtual visits are done live, and it allows the exhibit to visit more than one school during the day.
“We were shocked at the level of engagement with the virtual one and kept it live because we thought it was a huge part of why the kids were engaged,” Klufa said. “The teachers feedback was just as positive with in person.”
The head position of Farm to You is available and OSU is actively looking for someone to fill the role.