We had the opportunity recently to see hundreds of youth from across the state be involved in the celebration of food—from its production to its consumption.
The State FFA convention was held in St. Paul April 28-30. Some 3,000-plus FFAers converged at the U-M campus to learn more, to celebrate accomplishments and to renew friendships. That sea of blue jackets always is an inspiring sight to behold. You know the world is in good hands when you see a congregation of FFA members!
After visiting with young people who help produce food, our next meeting with students involved those who are consumers.
On April 30, 30 teams of elementary, middle, and high school students from throughout Minnesota gathered for a nutrition and NFL-themed training camp at the Metrodome. The reason? This special field trip was their reward for efforts to eat healthy foods and stay active. The student teams earned invitations to the Fuel Up to Play 60 Reward Training Camp. Fuel Up is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program sponsored by National Dairy Council, Midwest Dairy Council, the NFL and USDA. Throughout the school year, school staff and students incorporated ways to offer more healthy food choices for breakfast and lunch, and they promised to commit to at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day.
The training camp gave students the opportunity to participate in fun activities, such as breakfast and lunch tray relays; a series of authentic pre-game warm-up football drills; poster-making and brainstorming sessions; and tours of the Metrodome locker room facilities. The students also interacted with Viktor, the Vikings' mascot; Princess Kay of the Milky Way Christine Reitsma; and heard presentations from Kristine Spadgenske, a Minnesota dairy farmer; and Kylie Kasprick, Fuel Up to Play 60 Student Ambassador for Minnesota. They also got to meet and hear a message from Matt Cassel, Minnesota Vikings quarterback, who explained how healthy eating and staying active helped prepare him for a career in the NFL.
The teams that attended the camp were: Cedar Park Elementary, Apple Valley; Indus School, Birchdale; Evergreen Park Elementary, Brooklyn Center; Northport Elementary, Brooklyn Center; Excell Academy Charter School, Brooklyn Park; Palmer Lake Elementary, Brooklyn Park; Park Brook Elementary, Brooklyn Park; Cannon Falls Jr./Sr. High, Cannon Falls; Coon Rapids Middle School, Coon Rapids; Northdale Middle School, Coon Rapids; Pilot Knob Elementary, Eagan; Kennedy Secondary School, Fergus Falls; Pine Bend Elementary, Inver Grove Heights; Basswood Elementary, Maple Grove; Elm Creek Elementary, Maple Grove; Rice Lake Elementary, Maple Grove; Sunnyside Elementary, New Brighton; Bridgewater Elementary, Northfield; Greenvale Park Elementary, Northfield; Ogilvie Public School, Ogilvie; Osseo Jr./Sr. High, Osseo; Golden Hill Learning Center, Rochester; John Adams Middle School, Rochester; Longfellow Elementary, Rochester; Pinewood Elementary, Rochester; Riverside Central Elementary, Rochester; Battle Creek Middle School, St. Paul; Benjamin Mays Elementary, St. Paul; Frost Lake Magnet Elementary, St. Paul; and Winona Middle School, Winona.
All in all, it was a good week for Minnesota youth and Minnesota agriculture.