Where does your food come from?

Cassie Allscheid shows off one of her cows at her farm. The Waterloo FFA will have a petting zoo at Saturday’s Farm to Store event at the Waterloo Schnucks. (submitted photo)

Valmeyer farmer Bruce Brinkman tills 1,100 acres of land along the bottoms, growing corn, beans, wheat and horseradish.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s most recent census data shows his operation is one of 2.1 million farms generating this country’s food and other resources. 

However, Brinkman lamented not many people seem to know where the cut of ribeye comes from that they pick up at their local grocery store or meat market.

“People have no idea where stuff comes from,” expressed Brinkman, who also owns hogs. “What’s happened is we’re getting generations away from the farm. 

“Everybody used to go to the farm at grandpa’s. Today you don’t have that. We are four to five generations away from knowing where food comes from.”

Students in the Waterloo FFA consider Brinkman’s statement to be true, but they hope an upcoming event will serve as a catalyst to change the culture of ignorance. 

Saturday’s Farm to Store program at the Waterloo Schnucks will include many opportunities to learn about food produced through agriculture. 

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Waterloo FFA plans to have informational booths, a petting zoo, attendance prizes and crafts available at the event.

“I hope it’s an eye-opener. I put a lot of work into raising my cattle and want people to see how much that takes,” Waterloo FFA member Krista Allscheid said. “People have to put in time to get their beef to product. It’s not like the steak just appears on the shelf.”

One craft the FFA has planned to get children involved in the learning process is a pizza bracelet. 

But instead of making the bracelet out of pizza crust, kids will use string and beads, with each bead representing another ingredient of the pizza.

Brinkman and other farmers will also be on hand to talk about the foods they produce. In addition, Brinkman said he has fact sheets on agriculture to aid in the visual aspect of learning.

“Hopefully, that will create questions. When people see things in front of them, that gets them thinking,” he said.

The Monroe County Farm Bureau and Monroe County Agriculture in the Classroom helped organize the event. Monroe County Farm Bureau manager Brenda Seboldt said farm bureau representatives will also bring their knowledge to the table.

“It was really (the FFA’s) idea. They called and said, ‘People don’t know where their food comes from, and they think it just ends up on shelves,’” she recalled. “So they thought this would be a good opportunity.”

Some attendance prizes at the event will include gift cards to Dairy Queen, candy and other small items, and children can submit their Farm to Store event flier that they have colored for a prize as well. 

The event will carry on outside, rain or shine. For more information, call 939-6197.

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