Longmont’s Columbine Elementary students met a prize-winning 7-month-old pig named Violet, tried Haystack Mountain goat cheese, learned about pollinators and touched cotton seeds.

The interactive displays were set up on the school grounds by area farms and the district’s  Future Farmers of America club. Aspen Moon Farm also provided carrot, beet and sweet pepper samples that were served by parent volunteers.

Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer

Columbine Elementary School fifth graders look at “Violet” the pig while her owner, Anna Kragerud, left, talks about a pig’s life during a Colorado Proud Day event on Wednesday in Longmont.

“It’s to figure out where all our food comes from, and it’s a celebration of Colorado food,” said Columbine fifth-grader Maiya Downey, who added that she learned that cows eat more than just hay.

Wednesday was Colorado Proud Day, with the St. Vrain Valley and Boulder Valley school districts highlighting the local food on their lunch menus and their partnerships with area farms.

Laura Smith, program and grants coordinator for Boulder Valley’s School Food Project, said the district purchases food from 10 local farmers.

“We’re so lucky to have these great resources in our own community,” she said.

Boulder Valley’s activities included a Tuesday field trip for Louisville Middle students to Longmont’s Ollin Farms, a lunch event Wednesday at Superior Elementary School and local offerings in school cafeterias through the week.

At Superior Elementary, students were encouraged to try Colorado-grown Anasazi beans with their lunch and watched a chef demonstration.

For all schools, the week’s local menu items include locally raised chicken made into strips, locally made pork tamales and local produce on school salad bars — peaches, pears, watermelon, bell peppers, multicolored cherry tomatoes and carrots.

Saturday, the school district also is celebrating local food at the Boulder Farmers Market.

St. Vrain Valley also partners with local farms and producers. Wednesday, the district’s lunch menu featured local ingredients that included apples and nachos with chips made from local tortillas.

“What’s great about Longmont is we have so many local farms nearby,” said Theresa Spires, St. Vrain’s school wellness coordinator.

At Columbine, Westview Middle School eighth grader Anna Kragerud brought Violet, the pig. She talked to students about raising and showing pigs and asked them to guess Violet’s stats (she weighs about 350 pounds and is about 5 feet long).

“I like teaching kids,” she said.  “I want to get kids more active in teaching agriculture.”

While many students declared meeting Violet as their favorite part of the day, she had some competition. Others liked the cheese, the vegetable samples or playing a game with Ollin Farms of guessing whether wind or bugs pollinate different fruits and vegetables.

“These are so good,” said third-grader Evelyn Orona as she munched on a carrot.

Robert Wada, who’s in sales at Haystack Mountain, let students compare a green chile cheese made from goat’s milk to one made from cow’s milk, along with introducing them to the “Funkmeister,” a brie-like cheese.

“The brie cheese is like us,” he said. “As it gets older, it ages. It gets stinkier.”

Columbine Principal Audrey Seybold said the Colorado Proud displays are helping students make connections. In June, students in the school’s summer program helped plant a new school garden, while Ollin Farms last week partnered with the students to run a farmers market.

“It’s sinking in where food comes from,” she said.

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