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Fair kicks off start of hands-on book club

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One child didn’t know what color to draw her pig, as she had never seen one.

Other kids don’t know that their hamburger and milkshake come from a cow and that their breakfast bacon was once a pig.

In an effort to show children the connection between agriculture and food and to offer more family activities during the day at the Johnson County 4-H and Agricultural Fair, the county’s Purdue Extension office is offering the Read, Taste, Touch program for the second year in a row.


The program is meant to be a hands on book club that kicks off at the fair.

Students have a book read to them. They meet an animal that was in their story and they share a snack based off food products from the animal.

“We are really reaching out to a new audience,” said Ashley Schultz, Johnson County Purdue Extension educator for youth development. “Think about how chicken nuggets are made of chicken, we want them to make that connection. You have to understand the purpose of these animals.”

Extension educators offered the program for the first time last year. That program was successful and is being offered twice a day at the fair this summer.

Lessons will begin at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, July 15-19, at Heritage Hall during the fair.

The program is designed for preschool students, Schultz said.

Parents can get involved by following a monthly reading list and recipes for snacks that go with the book.

“We want it to be a parent and kid book club,” Schultz said.

Often, families who do not have strong ties to 4-H will come to the fair in the evening to ride the Ferris wheel or grab an elephant ear.

Read, Taste, Touch will allow families who don’t have a strong agricultural tie to appreciate the fair for more than the food and rides, Schultz said.

Older 4-Hers will show off their animals and will talk to the children about what it takes to raise the animals and what products can be made from the animals’ meat and skin.

“It’s the opportunity to see where food comes from and the work that went into it,” said Sarah Speedy, Extension Educator for agriculture and natural resources.

The program is free and is paid for with part of a grant the office received. Each session is open to 20 children.

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