Most of my school visits to talk about being a dairy farmer happen at elementary schools. Recently I was invited to speak at Maplewood Middle School. For you non-Minnesotan's, Maplewood is considered a suburb of St. Paul, with a population of nearly 40,000 so farmin' country it is not.
I began with my Powerpoint presentation, sharing about my family, our farm, and what we do each day. I talked about feeding our animals, the milking process, and what happens when animals get sick. We moved on to a discussion of dairy foods and how they get to the grocery store.
Even though the teacher suggested the students hold their questions until the end of my presentation, I kept getting interrupted with questions... and I loved it! I witnessed enthusiasm and great questions from these middle-schoolers along with a strong desire to learn more about dairy farming and where their food comes from. Here are some of my favorite questions-
Q.- When you buy 1% milk, what is the other 99%?
A.- All types of milk are 100% milk. The percentages included in the names of the milk indicate how much fat is in the milk by weight. All of these milks contain the nine essential nutrients found in whole milk but less fat.
Q.- I've heard that we are supposed to drink chocolate milk after sports. Why?
A.- Chocolate milk contains a combination of carbohydrates and protein to help replenish exhausted muscles after exercise, and provides potassium and sodium that help your body re-hydrate. And, there's an added bonus- chocolate milk is natural, and less expensive than sports drinks!
And now it was time for me to ask the students some questions...
Me- "Why do you think I go to schools to talk about dairy farming?"
Them- "So we can find out what you do and why it's important for us to drink milk?"
Me- "That's right. As you probably know, not everything you read or see on social media or TV or the internet is always true.
Me- " If you have a concern about your dog or cat, who do you talk to?"
Them- "The vet."
Me- "If you have a question about your car, who do you talk to?"
Them- "A mechanic."
Me- "So if you have a question about your food, why wouldn't you talk to a farmer?"
(Them- heads nodding yes.)
Maplewood Middle School knows the importance of milk and
participates in the Fuel Up To Play 60 program.
Thanks to Michele, Miss Martha, and the students of Maplewood Middle school for a moovelous time!