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A Taste of East Texas

Michael Owens,   Mckamy El
Farm to School — Know Your Foods
Access to Healthy Foods, Community Involvement,  Student Leadership
Each day in physical education class, McKamy students discuss the importance of exercise and how food is needed to stay healthy. I asked all grade levels from K-5th what food does the body need to stay strong and healthy throughout the year? I also asked, what would the world be like if there was not enough food for everyone? And lastly, what would you do if there were a shortage of food in the grocery stores? I grew up in a small East Texas town by the name of Oakwood with the population of 427. As a kid, I would always help my family chop wood, bale hay and most importantly farm and raise livestock. I knew exactly where my food came from and now would like to share that information with all my students at McKamy. Having our own land in East Texas made farming fun. I got a chance to experience how to grow and take care of my own food. My family grew purple hull and cream peas, watermelons, cantaloupe, okra, tomatoes, potatoes and corn. We would often keep and bag up most of our food to save for winter or sell it to local people we knew. My family has also sold to Farmer Markets in the East Texas and North Texas areas. Still today, my family farm and grow some of their own food. I put together a bulletin board to show my students the type of foods my family produces and how beneficial it was growing up eating healthy and knowing where my food came from. Of course, I had to explain that growing your own food is not easy as it may seem. There is a lot of work involved, like preparing the soil for planting, taking care of what you planted, spraying crops to keep insects away and harvesting your crops. Growing our food as a family was also a great way to stay fit and in shape. Farming prepared me for the sports I participated in throughout high school.  I plan on bringing some of the food my family produced, like watermelons and cantaloupe, to let the staff have a taste of East Texas!

How do you plan to make this Play last during the school year and beyond?

By inviting my father to school with actual food we produce, so students can see first hand and get a great experience. Students are welcome to the bulletin board at any time. Students are welcome to interview me for more information about knowing where your food comes from and how to produce it.