Cows lay eggs don’t they? – Sydney Royal Easter Show debunking the myths

The Food Farm at the 2012 Sydney Royal Easter Show has a great new look this year and Food Farm coordinator Jenny Hughes and her team are discovering some bizarre food facts myth-conceptions as they talk to the children they are meeting and working with. One being it appears cows may lay eggs

Before we get into that Art4agriculture is particularly proud that a large number of the 2012 Archibull Prize cows are taking centre stage in the Food Farm.  Check them out is this very brief video I whizzed up with some Wiggles music ( thx Wiggles)

Now back to problem of food and where it does and doesn’t come from.

The  Food Farm is “the key education pavilion at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, which tells the story of where food comes from and the importance of farmers to everyday life. Created for pre and primary school children, their families and showgoers in general, there is something for everyone to learn in the Food Farm. Children can grab a spade and dig in the garden to discover what vegetables grow underground or put on a blindfold and guess the variety of apple you are eating. You may go to the Grain Shed to mill your own grain and deliver it to the Bakery before putting on your apron and rolling-out some pastry for a pie. Inside the Egg Dome, children will learn about egg production and some of the amazing ways to cook with eggs or take a stroll through the virtual chicken farm to discover where our chicken meat comes from. Junior Farm Hands will love listening to the animal carers talk about how to care for farm animals in Livestock in the Round and allows children and their families to ask their own questions or pat large animals that are a feature of the Sydney Royal Easter Show.”

Now I visited the show very briefly to judge the School District Exhibits last Thursday ( see post here http://chdairiesdiary.wordpress.com/2012/04/06/judging-can-be-a-tough-gig/ ) and took these pix of the Food Farm the day before the show opened.

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As I mentioned the Archies take pride of place at the Food Farm entrances as does a very big orange tractor that kids can sit it in and heaven forbid blow the horn which they do quite a bit as you can imagine.The signage is magnificent

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and there are lots of great education tools to help the community learn more about where there food comes from including the Egg Dome

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You will note this board does not ask the question. What animal lays eggs? It is interesting the board does ask if roosters lay eggs. I remember having a discussion at a party where not one adult (who wasn’t a farmer) had heard of the word hen. Every adult at the party thought an adult chicken was called a chicken and hence all chickens laid eggs. Now I have chickens I know that isn’t true, but not everyone is as lucky as me to have the hands on experiences and this is leading to some bizarre knowledge gaps in the community

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These displays are pretty impressive stuff aren’t they?

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Lots of info on safety and storage

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and eggs and culture and there is more.  The last thing I thought when I looked at these impressive displays was that Jenny and her team would discover that kids are very confused about where eggs actually come from

Jenny said it appeared the kids go this impression that eggs and dairy products came from the same animals from learning about the Food Pyramid and eggs and dairy are on the same line. Mmh am I missing something here?

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I did a little Google research and apparently this is quite a common misconception amongst adults as well. Apparently some supermarkets aren’t helping by selling them with dairy items because they tend to group foods together by both storage and usage. In this case, both eggs and dairy must be stored under similar conditions, and are most often used with one another in recipes, so it’s apparently logical to locate them in the same part of the store for customers to find.

Another source says” eggs are often confused as both a form of dairy and of meat, but in reality, they are neither. Because eggs are an animal by-product, just like milk, many people categorize eggs as dairy. However, dairy is very specifically designated as the by-product of the mammary glands of mammals like cows or goats. Essentially dairy is any milk or milk-made product, such as butter or ice-cream. However, eggs are not meat either. Eggs are the foetal form of a mature animal, and are considered their own entity in and of themselves, than meat. Eggs are eggs and meat is meat.” But eggs are not a food group are they? They are protein, the food group with meat in it.

All I can say is its time to get back to the basics and give our kids some real hands on experiences and well done to the RAS team behind the new look Food Farm for giving next gen the opportunity to have fun and engaging true to life experiences. The research shows shows there is an 85% uptake rate when both theory and practice are combined compared with just the theory alone at 5%. ((Joyce and Showers 1995) 1.  Wow!

But lets not stop there – Come on government lets get agriculture embedded in the curriculum from K to 12. Lets make sure we have engaged, knowledgeable and science literate students making wise decisions for the planet going forward  because there is going to be a lot more more people to house,feed and clothe with less land, water and energy and its a tough ask to expect the dairy cows to produce not just milk but eggs too

BTW – Finding the Food Farm at the Sydney Royal Easter Show

PowerPoint Presentation

By the way if you came to this page for information on who lays eggs.

The term chicken is used to refer to the bird itself. The female chicken is called a “hen” and the male chicken is called a “rooster” . Therefore hens lay eggs which if fertilized by a rooster will hatch to become chicks.

1. Joyce, B., & Showers, B. (1995). Student achievement through staff development:
Fundamentals of school renewal (2nd ed.). White Plains, New York: Longman.

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