Sprague, D.1; Dinkel, J.2; Lilly, J.3
1Agriculture and Natural Resource Agent, UF/IFAS Extension Jefferson County, Monticello, FL, 32344
2Family and Consumer Sciences Agent, UF/IFAS Extension Jefferson County, Monticello, FL, 32344
34-H Agent, UF/IFAS Extension Jefferson County, Monticello, FL, 32344


As farmland continues to decrease and cities grow, consumers are further removed from agriculture and where their food comes from. Younger consumers are more likely to eat out or purchase prepared foods and less likely to cook at home. Many youth lack an understanding of our food system, as well as the life skills they need to purchase and prepare food. Gardening, cooking at home, and purchasing local foods instead of eating out are ways to not only help address rising obesity in our county, but also support local agriculture. The purpose of this educational program was to 1) increase youth awareness of agriculture production, 2) build life skills for growing, preparing, cooking, and grilling their own food, and 3) for youth to begin gardening, cooking, and grilling at home. The camp was a week-long from 8am – 4pm each day for ages 11 -14. The program used multiple delivery methods such as hands-on demonstrations, PowerPoint presentations, interactive games, and team building activities. Through partnerships with local businesses, campers were able to tour a local blueberry farm, hog farm, meat processer, farm to table restaurant, and grocery store. Hands on activities included cooking, knife skills, grilling, gardening, meal planning, shopping, and a work experience in a local restaurant. A total of 11 youth attended the day camp of which 11 completed the pre/post test and evaluation. 100% (11/11) reported knowledge gain in gardening techniques, soils, and food safety. 91% (10/11) were more aware of agriculture and the food supply chain and 72% were more interested in a career in agriculture. 10/11 parents completed the follow-up survey. Of those who responded, 100% noticed changes in their child’s behaviors since attending camp. Changes included planting a garden and cooking and grilling at home. A day camp with hands on experiences is an effective way to engage youth, increase agriculture awareness, and build life skills.

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