Ridgedale and Ridgemont FFA were each awarded $2,000 from the Ohio Small Grains Marketing Program (OSGMP), as part of a statewide competition among FFA chapters to increase awareness about the nutritional value of a whole grain diet, among other healthy behavior changes, at their schools.
Before their peers and a judging panel, FFA chapters showcased their “Food for Thought Challenge” campaign efforts at the 85th Ohio State FFA Convention May 2 at the Ohio State Fairgrounds.
Food for Thought FFA chapters included:
- Clear Fork Mt. Gilead
- Benjamin Logan North Union
- Twin Valley South
- Miami East
Participating chapters submitted campaign proposals to OSGMP in September and based on the originality of their ideas, were granted $500 each in October to implement their campaigns.
Campaign tactics included the use of student food logs, organizing educational fairs with health-related groups and providing healthy snacks between classes.
Because of the effectiveness of each chapter’s campaign tactics, both Ridgedale and Ridgemont FFA tied for first place and were each presented with a $2,000 check to continue campaign activities.
FFA students at Ridgedale High School worked closely with kitchen staff to introduce more wholegrains into the school’s daily menu. Food diaries and health classes educated students about nutrition. And, during the Ohio Graduation Tests, students ate whole-wheat snacks and granola bars to improve their concentration.
Like Ridgedale, Ridgemont refreshed its school menus to include more whole grains, increasing students’ whole grain consumption by 100 percent. Ridgemont also initiated blind taste tests, finding that 64 percent of students could not taste the difference between foods made with whole or processed grains.
Research projects helped freshman students at Ridgemont learn about global agriculture. And, to learn about food sources third graders visited a local dairy farm. Finally, Ridgemont FFA students took their campaign on the road, championing healthy eating habits at professional conferences throughout Ohio.
About Ohio Small Grains Marketing Program
The Ohio Small Grains Marketing Program Board works to improve wheat production, wheat qualities and to strengthen markets for wheat in Ohio as well as wheat export markets. OSGMP supports educational programs in the state and funds research programs to create better crops and open new markets. For more information, visit ohiosmallgrains.org.