As one of Dairy Council of California’s flagship programs and the original Farm to School program, Mobile Dairy Classroom holds a special place in the hearts of the dairy community. Mobile Dairy Classroom assemblies give children a chance to experience agriculture up close, providing many of them with their first opportunity to see a cow and calf in person.
Offered at no cost to qualifying elementary schools throughout California, these learning labs teach students agriculture and food literacy, using experiential learning to connect with food and the journey it takes to get to their school cafeteria. The assemblies feature a variety of topics, including the role of milk and dairy foods in supporting good health, cow care on the farm, the milking process and agricultural technology.
Mobile Dairy Classroom assemblies complement our robust portfolio of nutrition curriculum and resources such as the grade-specific nutrition education workbooks, short nutrition builders, online games and resources, and Smarter Lunchrooms Movement strategies. Paired with classroom lessons that are designed to build healthy eating behaviors from all food groups, Mobile Dairy Classroom assemblies help students connect the milk and dairy foods served in their school cafeteria to real foods produced on farms, making a powerful, lasting food literacy connection.
Dairy Council of California continuously looks for opportunities to innovate our programs and resources to stay relevant and support our partners who teach nutrition education. In April, Mobile Dairy Classroom partnered with Nepris, a free web-based solution that connects teachers with industry experts to make curriculum topics relevant for students. The live assembly shared virtually through Nepris was highly successful, educating 18,210 students in 669 classes across nine states! The success of this innovation led us to pursue additional opportunities to support teachers and students as they moved to a distance learning model.
In partnership with the California Milk Advisory Board and local farmers, Dairy Council of California launched a Farm to You Virtual Field Trip program in late April. Over the course of two months, the virtual field trip engaged over 40,000 students in real time. Bringing the farm experience to students at home enabled us to continue teaching the journey of food and the food supply chain, dairy’s role in healthy eating patterns and ways to eat healthfully.
Feedback from students, parents and teachers was overwhelmingly positive, with educators like Diane Summer saying, “Thank you so much! We really appreciated that you set this up so we could learn virtually. We look forward to having you visit our school in person next year.” Survey results from the program were also very positive, demonstrating participants’ increased understanding of the lessons.
Dairy Council of California and Mobile Dairy Classroom instructors also support agricultural literacy by participating in fairs and other events throughout the state. Our free, interactive exhibit used at the California State Fair and county fairs extends our reach, engaging children and families to learn about dairy agriculture and its journey from farm to table. The exhibit covers six topic areas, with panels to represent the different lessons: Dairy Farming, Cow Anatomy, Sustainability, Milk Processing, Dairy Foods and Nutrition, and Healthy Communities.
In 2019–2020, the exhibit was featured at the California State Fair and the Big Fresno Fair. With more than 600,000 people in attendance, the exhibit featured at both fairs engaged with more children and families than ever, sharing a slice of California’s rich agricultural heritage while teaching the
importance of healthy eating habits with milk and dairy food as the cornerstone. The success of the exhibit on loan has prompted Dairy Council of California to permanently offer the educational panels at no cost to California county fairs and the state fair to teach agricultural literacy.
A leader in nutrition education, Dairy Council of California is committed to elevating the health of children and families in California and beyond through the pursuit of lifelong healthy eating habits. We believe:
At Dairy Council of California, we believe that milk and dairy foods are part of the solution to sustainably nourish a growing population, and by supporting dairy’s role in healthy eating patterns, all children can be nourished and supported for optimal growth and development.
Dairy Council of California’s Mobile Dairy Classroom would not be possible without the support of the California dairy community. We would like to acknowledge and thank the following dairies, dairy farmers and FFA for their support:
Members of the dairy community are always invited to attend a Mobile Dairy Classroom assembly or agricultural event taking place in their region. Contact Kendall House, [email protected], to learn about upcoming assemblies, events or ways to support our virtual farm tour program.