Agricultural trivia, animal math and food group scrambles are part of an interactive challenge being offered to youngsters and their families during this year’s State Fair.
The fair is encouraging young learners to take part in the online educational challenge designed to educate, entertain and motivate them about the wonders and importance of South Carolina agriculture.
And along the way, they could be named a State Fair “Ambassador of Agriculture.”
It’s all part of a new From Field to Fair program that emphasizes the event’s agricultural roots.
“We hope to offer a modern-day setting in the home where this generation can experience and get excited about the importance of agriculture,” State Fair assistant manager Nancy Smith said. “Our concern is with our young patrons, many of whom have never had the opportunity to pet a cow or see how corn or cotton is harvested.”
The fair’s From Field to Fair web link features 16 games with names like “Harvest This!” “Amazing Grains” and “That’s Life, Let’s Grow.” The games are targeted at pre-kindergarten through fifth grade and present lessons about farming and sustainability through several hands-on challenges. The lessons follow the state’s curriculum standards for math, science, social science, English language skills, and health.
“Incorporating fun, age-appropriate technology so kids can participate in the learning process is especially important,” said David Winkles, president of the S.C. Farm Bureau Federation, which is helping promote the effort. “By educating young people, we get better-educated consumers, and that translates into people making reasonable choices based on facts and not on fiction.”
Each game takes five to seven minutes to complete, on average. Participants can print a “stamp” for each completed game and place it on a My American Farm Passport to Sustainability, which also can be downloaded from the website. Those who complete the challenge will earn the Ambassador of Agriculture distinction and will receive a commemorative photo and blue ribbon when they present their passport at the S.C. Department of Agriculture exhibit in the Cantey Building.
The website also includes several videos and trivia related to agriculture.
The From Field to Fair program was sparked partly by concerns about the future of farming in America. The American Farm Bureau notes that farm families account for just 2 percent of the American population, adding the number of young people entering the farming field is steadily declining.
“Many children today think that their food simply comes from grocery stores,” State Fair manager Gary Goodman said. “The From Field to Fair project works to promote children’s interest in agriculture and teach children where food comes from.”
The State Fair has aired a series of fun facts in recent months on the South Carolina Radio Network spotlighting representatives of the agriculture industry discussing the path their products take – from production to consumption.
Families can take part in the “From Field to Fair” challenge by visiting scstatefair.org and clicking the From Field to Fair link.