L. Johnson. UF/IFAS Extension, Lake County, Tavares, FL; D. Meringolo. UF/IFAS Extension, Lake County, Tavares, FL; J. Daugherty. UF/IFAS Extension, Lake County, Tavares, FL.
SITUATION: Connecting where our food comes from and the value it has in nourishing our bodies and community aligns with the key values of 4-H programing. The Roots Up for Kids Program in Lake County was used as a vehicle to continue to reach 4-H youth during a pandemic. The intent of this program was to increase knowledge in youth on farm to table concepts and have them apply food preparation skills. METHODS: Agents across three disciplines, Family & Consumer Sciences, 4-H and Residential Horticulture teamed up to provide a 6 series program. To meet the need, the Zoom platform was utilized to deliver virtual programing in addition to an in-person option. The monthly topics featured seasonal produce while integrating local farms and providing hands-on experiences for the youth. Agents demonstrated farm to table principles that included financial literacy, positive relationships, physical health, nutrition, food preparation, growing your own food and community service. RESULTS: On average 11, 4-H youth participated each month. Evaluation data methods utilized online surveys, session participation, dialogue, and feedback. Youth showed a knowledge gain in healthy food choices, food safety practices, growing their own food, determining food costs, community service and, ways to incorporate physical activity. The ability to offer this program in a hybrid format allowed youth to interact with local farmers, despite limitations with in-person gatherings. A parent phone survey conducted reported application of youth applying food preparation skills learned. CONCLUSION: Working in a collaborative effort provides an effective way to combine skill sets and create unique learning opportunities. Utilizing creativity through technology allows youth to continue to experience agriculture and learn life skills without interruption despite changes in typical program delivery methods.