Agriculture Fest brings Windsor and Severance fourth-graders closer to agricultural roots
October 1, 2016
Randy Schwalm's family has been farming sugar beets in Windsor for four generations. Though he grew up with an understanding of agriculture and farm-to-table food production, he said modern kids have a disconnect with both their town's heritage and where their food comes from.
"Kids these days think their food comes from King Soopers or Safeway," he said Friday. "Like it's made in a factory in the back of the store. But everything at some point comes from a raw product, from farmers."
Schwalm came to Skyview Elementary School on Friday for the second annual Ag Fair, where fourth graders from nearly every school in the district came to learn about and celebrate agriculture.
The Skyview gymnasium hosted stations for kids to learn and explore. At Schwalm's station, he brought 10 sugar beets from his farm and a five-pound bag of white sugar from the grocery store.
"It takes 10 sugar beets to make this bag of sugar," he explained to each group of fascinated kids.
He told them that each town in Weld County used to have their own sugar beet processing plant, but currently there is only one plant run by a co-op of farmers to which he belongs in Fort Morgan.
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Kids passed around the large, gnarled tan-colored beets: They certainly don't see these at the grocery store.
Other stations had dairy farmers, historic pictures of Windsor farms and more.
One popular station was outside in the Skyview parking lot, where kids could climb into tractors and race in a "tractor pull."
Andy Klatt was one of the event's organizers and is a physical education teacher at Grandview Elementary School. He explained that the miniature pedal-powered tractor pull teaches the kids about physics as well as agriculture. One tractor was hooked to 100 pounds, but required fewer pedal revolutions to move as far (similar to when a bicycle is set to a higher gear). The other tractor had no weight but required more revolutions to move.
Generally, the tractor with no weight won the tractor races, but many kids were surprised to see that it was a closer call than they expected.
"It was a lot harder than I thought it would be," said Caden Reyna from Mountainview Elementary.
He narrowly beet his friend Cannon Rank, who had been riding the weighted tractor.
Kendra Jacoby, STEM coordinator and teacher at Skyview and Melinda Spaur from the Windsor FFA were the other two event organizers.
Jacoby explained that technically, this is the third Ag Fair at Skyview, but only the second time other schools from the district were involved. She said other schools were excited to involve their students in the event and bring them closer Windsor's agricultural history.
As Schwalm put it, it's events like this that make modern kids aware of agriculture.
"Mom, Dad and Grandpa Fred aren't farmers anymore," he said. "We need things like this to tell our story."