My name is Kenley Wixson Senior at Harrisburg High School I live in the small town of Harrisburg, Arkansas I am 18 years old
My goal is to inform the next generation of kids and my community members, about how they can incorporate rice into their diet.
Tell everyone you know to eat more rice! I went to the Harrisburg Elementary School and talked to the kids in grades kindergarten through 4th. I discussed the different ways they could get rice into their diet. Examples include cereal, crackers, and rice cakes all made with rice. I talked about Arkansas and told the kids how it produces half of the rice grown in the United States. Then I proceeded to tell the kids about how rice, straight from the fields turns into what they know as white rice. I had bags of rough rice, rice hulls, brown rice, rice bran, and white rice on display.
I told the kids they had a mission. To tell everyone they know (mom, dad, brother, sister, etc.) that they need to eat more rice! The two reasons why is because it is healthy and it helps our farmers. The kids took their mission very seriously. Parents said the minute they saw their child, all they could talk about was rice and wanting to eat it as soon as they got home. After I talked to the kids, I passed out little bags of white rice for them to take home. I also gave each kid a sticker with my phrase R.I.C.E. on it. The sticker was a reminder for the kids and to show the parents what they learned today. The kids were so excited and were great listeners for me.
I used my facebook account to inform the parents of my trip to the elementary school. I mentioned the mission the kids had and got a lot of feedback from them. The parents told me that their kids enjoyed my presentation and could not stop talking about me.
My next step to promoting rice was to inform my community members. I set up at my town’s local grocery store, Edward’s Food Giant. I had a table with my presentation board, cereal made from rice, triscuit crackers made with brown rice for them to try, a real rice plant, and all of the different types of rice on display for them to see. The triscuit crackers were a big hit. Everyone loved them and could not believe they were made from brown rice. Food Giant carries every flavor of brown rice triscuits offered, where places like Wal-Mart only carries certain ones.
My community members were very amazed at my knowledge about rice. Some did not even know that Arkansas played a big part in rice production for the USA. They also could not believe the facts I told them. An example was that the average American consumes 25 pounds of rice per year. As I talked to each person or family that came by my table, I handed out a fried rice recipe and little bags of white rice. I got the privilege of being featured in my town’s local newspaper “The Modern News” for doing this project. With the sample bags that I had left over, I donated to my church’s food pantry.
To do this project I had to do my research. Besides searching the internet, my dad played a big part in my knowledge of rice. My father is a manager at Riceland Foods. He helped me by providing his knowledge of rice and passing it down to me. I have grown up around agriculture since I was a little girl and have learned a lot through my dad and my grandpa who is a retired rice farmer. I also got the opportunity to job shadow my dad and tour the plant. I got to see how the Riceland business works and the machinery it takes to get the rice ready to package and get shipped out to the stores. Riceland also helped me by providing me with my sample bags of rice that I passed out. I thank them for that.
Getting the opportunity to do this project has benefited me in more ways than one. Not only has my knowledge of rice and the health perks of rice increased, but this project has got my attention to look into a career in Food Science. I will be starting college soon and I have to start thinking about my future. I have not declared a major and probably won’t for a while but, having a sparked interest in an area is putting me on the right track to my future.