Tag Archives: education

New Girl Scouts Dairy Patch Unveiled at Oregon Dairy Day Event

What do you get when you combine a fun and informative creamery tour with dairy farmers and princesses, and top it off with delicious cheese samples and ice cream? At the special Oregon Dairy Day event at Tillamook Creamery on October 20, you got 200 very excited Girl Scouts and family members. They were there to be among the first-ever to earn the new “Oregon Dairy” patch.

Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington, in partnership with the Tillamook County Creamery Association and Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council, designed this new patch program to educate girls about STEM concepts, farms and food production, and the Oregon dairy industry.

The patch program encourages Girl Scouts to learn through five hands-on steps: visit a dairy farm, discover how milk is transformed into dairy products, explore dairy nutrition, and learn about careers in the industry, from dairy farmer to food scientist to food marketer. The program concludes with a taste test.

Volunteers from the Tillamook staff, along with the Oregon Dairy Princess Ambassadors, hosted interactive stations at the Tillamook Creamery Farm Experience Center to help the Girl Scouts earn their patch.

The first station featured a visit with local dairy farmers, Taryn Martin and Logan Lancaster. They were available to answer any questions the Girl Scouts had regarding milking, cow care and farm practices. “I really enjoyed the event,” said Taryn Martin. “When I was finished for the day, I had met parents and Girl Scouts from all over Oregon and Washington and was impressed at how far some of them had traveled for the experience and education. It was so much fun to answer questions from both the parents and the scouts!”

Girl Scouts also visited a station focused on nutrition and balanced diets. Oregon Dairy Princess Ambassador First Alternate Megan Sprute explained how and why milk is a good source of calcium, nutrients, and vitamins.

To learn about different careers in the industry, the Girl Scouts conducted food science experiments, creating their very own yogurt flavor, complete with a variety of toppings (including edible glitter sprinkles)! They were also able to visit with a veterinarian to learn about cow care and a scientist to learn how to use a microscope to look for bacteria. The dairy scientist explained that all bad bacteria is kept out of milk.

The Girl Scouts finished their patch requirements by taking a tour of the Tillamook Creamery, where they watched the milk turn into cheese and the employees prepare packages for shipment. And of course, they were able to taste test samples of delicious Tillamook cheese and ice cream.

“The Oregon Dairy Patch program is a great opportunity for girls to discover the local food chain. It encourages them to be curious about where their food comes from, and what it takes to get it from the farm to the factory to their table,” said Lisa Gilham-Luginbill, Program Manager for Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington. “We hope they’ll learn something new along the way, and perhaps discover an interest or future career in the process.”

RELATED LINKS:
Girl Scouts Oregon Dairy Patch curriculum
Tillamook Creamery
Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington
Kids Corner
Careers Page

Funny Questions, Serious Impacts on Dairy Tours

Fresh off of the school bus, wide-eyed youngsters set foot on a dairy farm for the very first time. They’re taking in all of the sights, and yes, the smells.

WATCH VIDEO

The farmer welcomes the students to her dairy and asks, “Do you know where milk comes from?

”Their most common answer? “The grocery store!”

This response shouldn’t come as a surprise when you consider that 98% of the U.S. population are generations removed from the farm. Tours are an excellent way to better inform and educate students about something that directly affects them and their families every day: where their food comes from.

“Most of the kids have never been on a farm. They have never seen farm animals in person,” said Melissa Collman, a dairy farmer in Boring, Oregon. “And even though our dairy isn’t very far away, we are miles apart as far as what they have experienced in life.”

As you might imagine, dairy farm tours can also be a source of humor, so we asked several Oregon dairy farmers and tour guides to tell us about some of the funny things they’ve heard or experienced while leading a tour.

JAMIE BANSEN, FOREST GLEN JERSEYS

Jamie and her dog, Olive, recently hosted a large group including students who had never set foot on a farm, let alone a dairy farm. Like a quick draw in the Old West, these middle schoolers quickly reached for their smartphones to snap photos and video along the way.

Students were amazed that manure is beneficial as a source of energy, bedding and fertilizer. “So wait, cow poop can make electricity and be sold for money?” a student asked. His serious question quickly devolved into laughter as a cow demonstrated the first step of that process.

After one of the girls expressed surprise about how quiet and happy the cows seemed, she decided, “I don’t want to go back to school. I want to pet cows all day.”

STACY FOSTER, RICKREALL DAIRY

“They love to tell me stories about their mom’s, cousin’s, friend’s cow that they saw once,” said Stacy.

Kids have told her they want to live at her dairy and become a farmer. They also want to bring calves home … until they’re reminded that they soon turn in to large cows.

“Some are amazed that we only have cows on our farm, since the only other farmer they know is Old McDonald,” she said. When the kids ask to see the other animals, like chickens, her answer makes the parent chaperones laugh. “Those animals don’t like to be milked, so they live on a different farm.”

CASEY SCHOCH, SCHOCH DAIRY AND CREAMERY

“On one of our tours, a little boy told me a cow joke,” said Casey. “What do you call a cow that has had her baby? De-calf-inated!

”Many of the kids ask to see the brown cows that make the chocolate milk, she said, but followed that it isn’t just the kids who ask funny questions.

“I actually had a mom ask me in all seriousness why we don’t milk the bulls,” said Casey, “I then tried to explain that similar to human females, only female cows have the correct parts for producing milk.”

MELISSA COLLMAN, CLOUD CAP DAIRY

Beyond the innocent and funny questions like whether boy cows make milk, Melissa expressed concern that students often echo some bizarre myths about dairy farming spread on social media and blog posts.

A student approached Melissa on a tour about rumors he heard about strange ingredients in milk. “So I milked a cow in front of this little boy, and he got to see for himself,” she said. “He was shocked.”

“It’s really important that we as farmers help educate consumers and future generations,” she said. “The funny questions and comments I hear on farm tours just reaffirm that any time we spend with the kids is time well spent.”

Catch a glimpse of some children discovering a dairy farm for the very first time in the video below.

 

Dairy Enlightening: Educational Leaders Tour Cloud Cap Farms

This summer, School nutrition directors, teachers, and administrators from Oregon and Idaho toured Cloud Cap Farms as a part of a special event called the “Fuel Up to Play 60 Pro Bowl.”

The Pro Bowl was a two-day event for school wellness champions to learn more about promoting healthy eating and physical activity through the Fuel Up to Play 60 program. The tour was organized by the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council and Dairy West.

“The primary purpose of these tours is to dispel myths. And there’s the opportunity to ask any of the questions that you might have,” said Jenifer Cruickshank from OSU’s Extension Service.

The farm tour was led by Melissa Collman, a fourth generation dairy farmer. Cloud Cap Farms is an organic dairy located outside of Portland in Boring, Oregon. They milk 200 cows twice a day, and the farm has been in operation for 94 years.

As one of the Oregon Dairy Farmer Association’s Young Dairy Leaders, Melissa is an active “agvocate.” She has participated in many events promoting youth health and wellness, advocating for agriculture, and boosting awareness and support for dairy. She also works for Organic Valley, helping innovate and educate in the organic food system.

With a goal to help Pro Bowl attendees learn firsthand about food systems, and the farms and farmers who provide nutritious food and ingredients to their schools, Melissa shared about the importance of cow care to provide quality milk. “The healthier [the cow] is, the healthier her milk is,” Melissa explained.

“It’s amazing to see the care that all these cows get to make sure that the milk we are getting is safe and healthy and good for us,” shared Anne Leavens, the Director of Food and Nutrition Services for Central Point School District. “Milk is a huge part of our meal program,” said Leavens. “You don’t think about how much work goes into the food that we are getting every day.”

The Pro Bowl participants all agreed they learned more about food systems, healthy eating and physical activity strategies to share with students and staff at their schools.

“Anytime questions about milk, or even dairy cattle, come up, they’ve got a nice firm basis now to answer questions for other people,” said Cruickshank. “Because they can say, ‘I’ve been on a dairy, and this is what I saw.’”

 

Nutrition Leader Honored as Health and wellness Champion

A red plate set at the supper table is a time honored tradition among American families to recognize someone who deserved special praise.

4 years ago, OSU’s Moore Family Center for Whole Grain Foods, Nutrition and Preventative Health amplified that tradition to start the Moore Family Center Founder’s Red Plate Award. An award designed to recognize professionals who work to help individuals and communities live healthier through good nutrition.

This year’s Red Plate Award was given to Anne Goetze RDN, LD, FAND, OSU alumni and Sr. Director of Nutrition Affairs for the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council (ODNC). But she humbly deflects the praise. “I have worked for dairy farm families for many years and am grateful for their commitment to healthy communities. They tend their land, animals and natural resources just as they tend their families, with love and an eye for the future.”

Anne has been committed to Oregon dairy farmers through ODNC for 28 years, educating the public about nutrition and healthy lifestyles. “We absolutely believe dairy products are an irreplaceable part of a healthy diet,” Anne says, “and we’re working to educate Oregonians about how they’re part of a sustainable food system.”

Anne’s work through ODNC influences the nutrition field through farm to table messaging. “It’s the choices people make that impact whether or not we’re going to have farms [in the future].”

An article written by Hanna Knowles, OSU’s assistant Director of Marketing and Communications, says, “Anne’s influence within the nutrition field is wide-ranging. She strives to be a relevant and strategic resource for dairy processors by helping them interpret consumer research, apply new nutrition policies and develop product innovations. She provides current and future dietitians with continuing education and is a conduit for health and nutrition education in Oregon.”

“I learned from the very best, from birth to today,” says Anne, “and I am very grateful to work for Oregon’s dairy farmers.”

It was a unanimous decision to honor Anne with the Red Plate award. Endowed Director of the Moore Family Center, Emily Ho said, “Anne leads with heart, dedication and infectious enthusiasm, which has activated countless others to join the cause of improved health in Oregon.”

Improving School Meals for Oregon Students

Clear Lake kick off school lunch

by DeDe Poynor, Oregon State University Dietetic Intern

Deanna PoynorDid you know school meals have been getting a makeover? It’s true – a lot has changed since the National School Lunch Program began in 1946. Here are some examples.

Current federal requirements help students eat a well-balanced diet with the nutrients they need as they grow. Schools must offer a variety of fruits and vegetables throughout the week. They also give students whole grains, lean proteins, and dairy products. Including more of the good stuff and cutting excessive salt, sugar, fat and calories helps develop healthy eating habits now and in the future.

Another role of school meals is to address child hunger. Oregon is the sixth most food insecure state in the country, with 1 in 6 households unsure of where their next meal will come from. Those kids often do not get the nutrients they need to be healthy and succeed in the classroom. Due to this, many schools around the state are looking at options outside of lunch, including breakfast and summer meal programs, to get students the food they need.

As the name implies, federal meal requirements must be met. However, deciding what to offer and how to prepare the food is up to the schools. It can be hard to find recipes and items that meet federal requirements. It is also hard to find menu items that most of the kids will eat. That is why Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council and Oregon Department of Education Child Nutrition Programs have joined forces to offer statewide culinary trainings for school nutrition staff. These trainings give tips and tools for offering things that kids will like, including local fruits and vegetables.

Oregon has been a national leader for the Farm to School Program, connecting Oregon schools with local farmers. With funding provided by the state legislature, this program has given kids opportunities to try locally grown and processed fruits and vegetables, as well as meat, dairy and whole grains. At the same time, the Farm to School Program has helped the economy by supporting Oregon businesses.

School meal programs continue to evolve with the support of students, teachers, administrators, parents and communities. School nutrition staff are bringing creative solutions to kitchens and cafeterias that maximize the available funding while keeping Oregon children full with nutritious and delicious foods.

Milk Builds Strong Schools in Oregon

MLK School Jacksons_2017

Remember those old videos of Ed Sullivan introducing the Beatles? Well, it wasn’t quite that boisterous when the students of Martin Luther King K-8 School in Portland learned that they were selected to receive a brand new iPad Learning Lab. But it was close.

The donation was made possible through a charitable Jacksons Food Stores program called “Milk Builds Strong Schools,” which set aside five percent of milk gallon sales in stores throughout Oregon from October 21, 2016 to January 5, 2017. The program is supported by Dairy Farmers of Washington, Darigold and Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council.

The Learning Lab includes 10 new iPad Pro devices with Apple Pencils and a mobile cart that can store, charge, and sync up to 30 iPad devices. This was the second year a school in Oregon was selected, the fourth year for schools in Washington and the first year ever for schools in Utah and Idaho. Martin Luther King K-8 was randomly selected in a drawing of all public schools in Oregon.

“Our partnership with the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council allowed us to create a campaign that benefits an Oregon school and promotes education through technology,” said Cory Jackson, president of Jacksons Food Stores.

Kiara Single, Oregon Dairy Princess Ambassador, participated in the assembly and helped with the big announcement. She shared some facts about dairy farming in Oregon with students, and said it was fitting that milk made the donation possible since this year marks the 20th anniversary of milk as Oregon’s Official State Beverage.

Adopt a Farmer Program Includes Oregon Dairies

Each year, Oregon dairy farmers participate in a program called Adopt a Farmer through Oregon Aglink to help promote agriculture through educating middle school students. Five Oregon dairy farm families are currently participating in this year’s program giving students the opportunity to experience a dairy farm firsthand.

The five dairies include:

  • Harrold’s Dairy in Creswell
  • Cloud Cap Farms in Boring
  • Mayfield Dairy in Aurora
  • Veeman’s Dairy in St. Paul
  • Willamette Valley Cheese in Salem

In addition to offering tours of their farms, these dairy farmers visit their adoptive classroom two to three times throughout the school year to engage students in the science behind farming. They participate in activities related to soil, water, conservation, irrigation, genetics, the farm-to-table continuum and economics.

Learn more about one of Oregon’s dairy farmers, Melissa Collman of Cloud Cap Farms and her participation in the program.

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RELATED LINKS:

Adopt a Farmer

Dairy Meets Classroom: Melissa Collman of Cloud Cap Farms

Cloud Cap Dairy, Boring, OR

Cloud Cap Dairy on Facebook

Cloud Cap Dairy on Twitter

Cloud Cap Dairy on Instagram

Oregon Celebrates School Wellness Awards

oregon-school-wellness-award-banner

Each year for the past decade, Oregon School Wellness Awards have recognized outstanding schools for their efforts to improve child health by connecting nutrition, physical activity and academic achievement. On the tenth anniversary of the awards, the Oregon Department of Education announced three new schools as recipients for 2017.

  • Adams Elementary, Corvallis School District
  • Milwaukie High School, North Clackamas School District
  • St. Paul Elementary, St. Paul School District

In partnership with Oregon Department of Education and Nutrition Council of Oregon, the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council serves as the title sponsor for these awards. Each award recipient receives a $2,500 cash prize, a banner, and a certificate of recognition presented at special school assemblies.

“We are excited about how this award will help shape our future wellness efforts,” said Kylie Pybus, MPH, Health and Wellness Coordinator at Milwaukie High School.

Schools are judged and selected based on criteria including school wide wellness policies and initiatives, physical education and physical activity, school meal programs and community involvement. Each one of this year’s winners were lauded for improving their standards and showing positive results in healthy student and staff behavior.

“There is clear data that student health and student learning are connected,” said Joyce Dougherty, Child Nutrition Programs Director for the Oregon Department of Education.

Oregon schools that are actively working to improve student and staff wellness are encouraged to apply for next year’s awards. To learn more, visit the wellness page on the Oregon Department of Education website.

Back to School: Literacy Project Helps Bridge Gap

Mary Swearingen and class

by Mary Swearingen, dairy nutrition consultant and Oregon Dairy Women member

Twenty years ago, I was in the third grade when my cousin (a county dairy princess at the time) visited my class to give a presentation — it was the same year milk became the Official State Beverage of Oregon. Twenty years later, I returned to read to three first grade classes at Mary Eyre Elementary School in Salem on April 12.

Mary Swearingen AITC Lit Project

The opportunity was made possible by a literacy project organized by Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom. In all, 72 students listened attentively and discussed where our dairy products come from, how dairy is part of a well-balanced diet, and everything our farmers do to care for their cows.

I work as a nutrition consultant for a feed company in Harrisburg, and because the literacy project activity focused on nutrition, I brought feed samples with me and explained that I help farmers create balanced diets for their cows.  Students got to see and smell alfalfa hay, flaked corn and almond hulls.

We talked about how cows are amazing at recycling byproducts, or leftovers from food production. I feel that it was important to volunteer for this year’s literacy project because the book answered the ever so popular question: does chocolate milk come from brown cows? A common misnomer among consumers, the book illustrates that all breeds of dairy cows produce white milk.

Mary Swearingen and cowIt was a really great opportunity to help bridge the gap between the farm and the classroom. After all, our milk and dairy products don’t just come from the dairy case. As a treat for all the students (and teachers) I brought 75 pints of chocolate milk with me, and the students all loved it.

At the end of the presentation, I opened the floor to questions and by far my favorite was from a concerned student asking, “in the middle of the day when the farmer is trying to sleep, doesn’t he get tired of hearing those cows moo all the time?”

I grew up as a city kid, but spent most of my school breaks working on my aunt and uncle’s dairy in Stayton picking berries and feeding calves. It didn’t take long to develop a passion and love of the farm, to see the hard work and effort it takes to dairy was quite literally a life-changing experience.

I went from one extreme to the other, wanting to be a teacher to Veterinary Medicine, and ultimately to animal nutrition.  I got involved in 4-H Livestock my freshman year of high school and participated in the Oregon Dairy Women’s Dairy Princess Program. These experiences have led me to see the importance of educating our youth and advocating for our farmers and ranchers.


The Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council proudly sponsors Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom’s 2017 Literacy Project. More information is available at oregonaitc.org/programs/literacy-project.

School Culinary Trainings Spice Up the Menu

Culinary Trainings with Garrett Berdan

Sponsored by the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council and the Oregon Department of Education, Child Nutrition Programs, a new series of five popular culinary training events are underway to help improve school cafeteria menus for Oregon students.

For the past seven years, Chef Garrett Berdan, RDN, has been coaching child nutrition program professionals at regional trainings on cooking innovative, healthy meals using nutrient-rich, local foods. At the training events, participants prepare and taste test 15 actual recipes they can bring back to their students.

The preparation of healthy meals for students emphasizes nutrient-rich foods, because studies show that well-nourished kids perform better at school. Participants practice menu planning, weights and measures, knife skills and other culinary techniques.

This year’s series includes stops in Klamath Falls, Ontario, Lincoln City, Central Point and Aurora, Oregon. Trainings were held last year in Albany, Hermiston, McMinnville, Central Point, Salem and La Grande. Schools and childcare programs in each region are invited to participate in the two day training free of charge.

“Using quick, tasty and healthy Food Hero recipes and a little creativity, schools can really spice up their menus without breaking the bank,” said Crista Hawkins, RDN, LD, Director of School Programs for the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council. “We’ve invited a lot of guests to come and try the good food at these events, and they’re consistently impressed.”

As part of an ongoing commitment to youth wellness and education, Oregon’s 228 dairy farm families and 29 dairy processors are involved with schools across the state, supporting programs such as this training.

RELATED STORIES:

Ontario Culinary Workshop FUTP60 Yogurt Station
Ontario Argus Observer, April 9

Nutritious cooking: Child nutrition programs get healthy refresher course
Herald and News, March 21

Cooking Up New and Nutritious Recipes for School Kids

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