Ensuring every student has access to accurate dairy education inside and outside the classroom is important to Midwest Dairy. Growing trust with K-12 youth is currently happening across the 10-state region as we partner with educators, administrators and organizations to offer experiential and digital learning opportunities that focus on sharing dairy farmers’ sustainable nutrition story. As we break down the youth audience inside the classroom, Midwest Dairy has established three age groupings to create content for. By keeping a focused approach, we can leverage programs to the appropriate age group to build trust in dairy and keep them eager to learn more.
Now in its fourth year, Midwest Dairy has seen success with the Discover Dairy Adopt a Cow program among the elementary age group. This program provides a free, year-long virtual experience where kids watch the growth of a calf and interact with a dairy farmer. Students learn first-hand about animal care, where nutritious dairy foods come from and important lessons about dairy farming in general. We see success within this program because it fosters a better relationship with students and farmers by helping students connect where nutritious food, like cheese for pizza, comes from. The Adopt a Cow program follows Common CORE education standards and is interactive with classroom curriculum, farm tours, virtual chats and more. This school year, Midwest Dairy has seven local dairy farmer hosts connecting with 74,000 students from the Midwest. The program includes Sunday Funday emails to those enrolled with additional materials to enhance learning and bring dairy to life in and out of classrooms. The 12 days of dairy activities were a big hit this past December, and many of these tools can be used year-round.
Fuel Up to Play 60 has been working for more than a decade with educators and students to become the nation’s leading in-school health and wellness program in more than 73,000 schools across the country. Through the program, students learn that fueling their bodies with nutritious foods like dairy, fruit and veggies throughout the day gives them the energy they need to be their very best. In addition, those nutritious dairy foods are also made with care for the planet. Midwest Dairy continues to partner with the National Dairy Council and the NFL in collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture for this program.
This year, Fuel Up to Play 60 launched a website that features classroom resources and downloadable materials, making it easier for educators to find and use sustainable nutrition resources. For downloadable materials, Midwest Dairy’s growth poster with Chicago Bears’ David Montgomery is featured in the healthy eating section along with Midwest Dairy’s #DairyDoesToo posters in the sustainability section. The third unit of the learning plan for educators was released Feb. 1 and is titled Healthy Food, Healthy Mind, Healthy Body. This new unit is part of a focus to offer mental health plus good nutrition and environmental sustainability to address mental fitness, healthy eating, as well as physical activity and will join two other learning units available for download: Fuel Your Game Day – Every Day Is Game Day and Farmers Fuel The World.
As high school students begin to form their own attitudes and opinions of dairy, Midwest Dairy sees an opportunity to reach this age group in a new way. We are working on a new pilot in 2022 and beyond to incorporate dairy into science-based education. This pilot is exciting, and we look forward to sharing more as we work to grow trust with this key age group where consumption often declines.