Dairy: Farm to School
We cap off National Farm to School Month (or in this case “School to Farm”) with a story of University students visiting a dairy farm and processing plant.
For the past two years, the Dairy Council of Utah has been working with Utah State University’s Food Literacy class to incorporate a dairy farm and processing plant tour into the curriculum. Students in Stacy Bevan’s Class (NDFS 1260) study food systems from the ground up where they learn to think critically and understand how our food system and food supply impacts health. The course is designed for Nutrition and Food Science Majors, Family and Consumer Science Majors, and Family and Consumer Science Education Majors – all fields that involve talking with others about where their food comes from.
With fewer and fewer people involved with agriculture, taking University students to the farm and the processing plant is a great way to show them how their dairy foods are harvested and brought to market. Our hope is that experiential education will add depth to their course and provide a tangible understanding of food systems.
Students visit Munk Farms in Amalga, Utah. The Munk’s sell their milk to Gossner Foods – one of the country’s largest Swiss Cheese manufacturers and a producer of shelf-stable milk. Since the Gossner Foods processing plant is just down the road in Logan, Utah, the students are able to go from their farm tour to the processing plant where they can see how raw milk is made into ready-to-consume dairy foods. And…they have a chance to try a few before heading back to campus.
“The dairy farm tour is a great way to have real-life application for the concepts of food systems that we have been learning in class. The students were able to see how their dairy foods get from the farm at the Munk’s dairy farm to processing at Gossner’s plant to consumption with samples of delicious milk, cheese, and ice cream. The hands-on, sensory-based farm tour will be an experience students will not forget and will help them more accurately educate about dairy foods and where they come from.”
– Stacy Bevan, MS RDN (Course Instructor)