Information provided by Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Pavilion Central School.
Students at Pavilion Central School are being treated to a delicious BBQ beef lunch on Wednesday, May 23, in recognition of their achievements in the recent Top Cut Beef Contest.
The catered lunch is being provided by the New York State Beef Council and New York Agriculture in the Classroom.
Ag in the Classroom is co-hosting the lunch later this month because Pavilion students established three Tower Gardens (aeroponic systems) thanks to a Grow with Us grant from Ag in the Classroom. They are growing strawberries, lettuce, Swiss chard, tomatoes, basil and cucumbers.
Pavilion's eighth-grade Family Consumer Science students placed first in the Middle School Division of the Top Cut Beef Contest for their product, "Grab-A-Bull's Beefy Sliders."
It was the only school in Genesee County to place in the top five of the Middle School Division.
In the High School Division, Pavilion's 12th-grade Family Consumer Science class placed second for their "Gourmet Beef and Tatar Bites."
Both classes are taught by Catherine Johnston.
Pavilion won a total of $350, thus purchasing a Weber grill for their Family Consumer Science classroom.
A class taught by Kerri Richardson at the Agri-Business Academy at the Batavia Career and Technical Education Center received an Honorable Mention in the High School Division for their "Texas Beef Chili -- Chili con Carne."
About the Top Cut Beef Contest
Slow-roasted beef brisket sandwiches, flaming maple beef jerky, and a Texas chuck roast chili were just a few of the delicious recipes developed, tested, and tasted in the debut of the Top Cut Beef Contest for middle and high school students.
Students and teachers in grades six through 12 were exposed to beef production and nutrition with this experiential learning competition by developing a marketing strategy for a food product of their choice and design.
Every classroom was equipped with a "True Beef: From Pasture to Plate" DVD, the True Beef Educator Guide, lesson plans, and consumer guides to better understand the many cuts of beef and their best uses.
Schools were paired with a local beef producer who mentored the students through the process of beef production or supplied the beef necessary for the project. In this hands-on experience, students were exposed to careers in the beef industry and learned about safe food-handling practices.
Participants created beef-centric recipes which they made and tested with their target audience. Submissions included sandwiches, stews, meatballs, and even jerky.
The creativity with this contest was unlimited as students filmed their own commercials and designed websites to market their products.
One of the judges, Ken Krutz, manager of Empire Livestock and board member of New York Beef Council, said of the entries, "I was amazed at the talent and innovation our youth put into their projects. It was an honor to be a judge for the Top Cut Beef Contest."
A total of 30 entries were submitted for judging by a panel of beef producers and industry experts. Each entry was scored based on the product, the market analysis, the marketing plan, and the beef nutrition analysis.
The first-place classroom in each division received $250, second place earned $100, and third place earned $50; all receive a banner to display their achievement, and the first-place teams, like Pavilion's eighth-graders, are also receiving a catered barbeque lunch from the New York Beef Council.
New York State Beef Council thanked participating schools for increasing the agricultural literacy of their students. "It is our hope that they will grow an appreciation of New York’s food system and gain exposure to the many careers available in agriculture," the council stated.
(To enter your classroom in a future contest, or to volunteer your time as a mentor, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Grow With Us Grant
Below is the letter Pavilion Central School teacher Catherine Johnston received from Katie Carpenter, director, New York Agriculture in the Classroom, regarding the Grow with Us Grant.
"Congratulations! You have been selected as a recipient of the Grow with Us Grant from New York Agriculture in the Classroom. Your grant application communicated your school’s need, interest, and commitment to providing healthy food and food system education to your students. The applicant pool for this program was deep and competitive; less than 25 percent of the submitted proposals were funded. You should be proud of your achievement in this difficult selection process.
You have been awarded three Tower Garden aeroponic systems.
Within the next week you will be receiving an emailed link. It will be important for you to thoroughly read the information about accepting the grow system, provide an accurate shipping address, and confirm your contact information. This will be essential to ensuring your grow system is shipped and received in a timely manner. Once this information is received, you will be provided additional information about the shipment of your grow system.
We are excited to work with you and your school as you extend your growing season throughout the entire school year. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or concerns. Again, congratulations on your success in the Grow with Us Grant program."