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Enhancing Dairy Ag Literacy for the Orange County Community

By: Maria Frye, RDN and Sonia Fernandez-Arana, MA

  • Monday, December 11, 2023
  • 5 Minute Read   


Through our Let’s Eat Healthy Initiative, Dairy Council of California proudly partnered with Centennial Farm to enhance its educational programming with the support of an awarded $5,000 Let's Eat Healthy Community Grant. Centennial Farm, located at the Orange County Fair and Event Center, focuses on youth agricultural education and offers a variety of community programs, providing experiential learning to emphasize the importance of agriculture and the connection between the food system and nutrition.   

Educating children, families and the community around where food comes from and the hard work that goes into producing and sourcing food through sustainable farming practices is a core value at Centennial Farm and Dairy Council of California. Through the process of collaboration and co-creation, Centennial Farm updated its dairy resources to enhance knowledge on the health benefits of milk and dairy foods; position milk, yogurt and cheese as daily food choices in healthy, sustainable eating patterns; and increase agricultural literacy in children and families through the following:  

1) Docent Trainings: Approximately 52 docents received professional development highlighting the health benefits of milk and dairy foods and educational resources to support their delivery of farm field trips. The docents incorporated the training information into their tours for elementary school students, teachers and parents. 97% of classroom educators who completed the tour survey reported that their docent highlighted dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, etc. and shared some nutritional benefits of each. 

2) Ranch Afterschool Program: Centennial Farm piloted a week dedicated to teaching about the health benefits of milk and dairy foods in its Ranch Afterschool program, focusing on 4th and 5th grade students. During the week, two episodes of our Let’s Eat Healthy Together, a Telly Award-winning broadcast series, were shown to enhance nutrition education. Students learned about the importance of nutrients and made a nutrient-rich smoothie that was highlighted in an episode. At the conclusion of the program, 85% of students reported that they believe it is important to eat dairy foods every day. 

3) Imaginology Weekend: Recently, the Orange County Fair and Event Center hosted its Imaginology event with a record 22,642 people in attendance, a 54% increase from the previous year. Centennial Farm was a popular stop, where farm activities included highlighting Dairy Council of California’s nutrition education resources. Our Mobile Dairy Classroom instructor, Elizabeth Miller, demonstrated how to milk a cow. Afterward, she observed how the students really enjoyed looking at Dairy Council of California’s nutrition education resources.     



As a Let’s Eat Healthy Champion, our partnership truly allowed us to elevate our educational assets! With the support of Dairy Council of California, we were able to add more visuals (posters) in key tour areas, provide dairy educational handouts at events like our Discovery Days, and update an educational dairy video. Students, teachers and families alike have experienced the enhancements and are grateful for all the education Centennial Farm provides for FREE.  We thank Dairy Council of California for the opportunity, support and financial assistance.”

— Evy Young, Let’s Eat Healthy Champion and Centennial Farm’s Director of Agriculture.


To learn more about joining the Let’s Eat Healthy Initiative, click here.


Maria Frye, RDN

Maria Frye, RDN

Maria Frye is a Community Nutrition Adviser who builds relationships and collaborative opportunities with key influencers.


Sonia Fernandez-Arana, MA

Sonia Fernandez-Arana, MA

Sonia is the Let’s Eat Healthy Program Manager and leads the activation and advancement of the Let’s Eat Healthy Initiative.

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