Youth in western Illinois have a better understanding of where their food comes from following a University of Illinois Extension program which earned the agricultural literacy specialty award by the state’s professional 4-H youth association.

A team of Extension staff serving the five-county unit that includes Calhoun, Cass, Greene, Morgan, and Scott counties received the award Sept. 6 at the Illinois Extension Professionals for Youth Education’s annual fall meeting in Springfield. The team includes April Littig, Duane Friend, Tanya Hetelle, Kenneth Johnson, Michelle Berg-Vogel, and Aaron Dufelmeier.

More than 300 students learned how their food is produced, said April Littig, Illinois Extension 4-H youth development educator. “The program helps connect young people more closely with the food they eat by giving them ag experiences, such as milking a cow.”

The students learned about farm animals, the value of clean water to the life cycle, the process of growing fruits and vegetables, and how agriculture by-products impact daily activities.