Byron-Bergen first- and second-grade students celebrated Agricultural Literacy Week 2021 by learning about dairy farms and making their own ice cream. The program was presented by the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County in partnership with New York State Agriculture in the Classroom.
First, students read the book The Dairy Godmother: Chuck’s Ice Cream Wish by Viola Butler, the Farm Bureau Foundation’s 2021 Book of the Year. The book features a child who wishes for all the ice cream in the world but is granted a dairy farm. There, he experiences the hard work that goes into caring for livestock and producing dairy products, like ice cream.
After reading about life on a dairy farm, the students were ready to make their own ice cream. Following strict guidelines for COVID-19 safety, students received individual kits with cream, sugar, vanilla, plastic bags, salt, ice, cups, and spoons. After some hard work and a lot of patience, each student enjoyed a sweet treat.
“I really like this activity,” said one second-grade student. “You have to shake and shake, but it’s worth it for ice cream.”
During Agriculture Literacy Week, students also learned about the official New York State snack, yogurt, which was championed by Byron-Bergen students in 2015. According to the New York State Department of Agriculture, the state has nearly 4,000 dairy farms that produce over 15 billion pounds of milk annually, making New York the fourth largest dairy-producing state in the nation. New York is also the nation’s largest producer of yogurt, cottage cheese, and sour cream.
“It is important for all students to understand where their food comes from,” said Byron-Bergen Elementary School Principal Brian Meister. “I really want to thank the Genesee Cooperative Extension for offering this program to our students and the Deleo family for donating The Dairy Godmother to our school library.”