By LaKeshia Myers
Sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, March is National Nutrition Awareness Month. As part of its annual campaign, it invites the public to focus on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. This year’s theme is “Eat Right, Bite by Bite”. As a self-proclaimed “foodie”, I enjoy preparing meals and eating new cuisine. The struggle I have, however, is making sure that I choose the freshest foods possible and limiting the amount of processed foods I eat. Luckily, I have been able to remain on the nutritional “straight and narrow” (for the most part) this is all because of a local school in my district.
One of the greatest joys I have serving in the state legislature is the fact that I represent the state’s only urban agricultural high school, Harold Vincent Agricultural High School. There is no other school located in the city of Milwaukee that has cows, goats, sheep and chickens on campus; all of which are taken care of by students. At Vincent students are serious about the business of agriculture. They study culinary arts, agribusiness, and horticulture and manage the school agricultural store where they sell fresh eggs, fruit, produce, soap, lotions, beeswax candles and much more.
Vincent is a unique school, tucked away in the far northwest corner of Milwaukee. The eighty-acre campus is located in Granville, one of the most diverse and economically stable neighborhoods in the city. At Vincent, students are passionate about nutrition and know the journey of food from the farm to their forks. With March being National Nutrition Awareness Month, I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than by profiling such an awesome high school.
Students at Vincent are enrolled in one of six agriculture career pathways: animal science, horticulture, agribusiness, culinary arts, environmental science, and food science. These six pathways represent the life cycle of any food product from the farm to our forks. Animal science students learn animal husbandry techniques and have shown livestock at the Wisconsin State Fair for the past three years.
Agribusiness students focus on the sale and marketing of agricultural products (such as regulating the price of milk or bacon), while culinary arts students take what was grown on campus and prepare restaurant quality meals for the school as well as the local community.
The goal of the agriculture program is to encourage students to understand the agricultural ecosystem and build student learning capacity in a way that would aid our city and state in filling pertinent jobs that exist in our state for foresters, chefs, food scientists, meat inspectors, etc. All of which are in demand positions with family sustaining wages and state civil service benefits.
The Vincent High School Agriculture store is a hub for fresh fruits, vegetables, and farm raised meats in the local community. I encourage everyone to check out the wonderful products and events created by these talented students.
For farmers market/store hours and general information about the Vincent High School Agriculture program please contact Gail Kraus at (262) 236-1200.