Soy Education Gone Digital
By: Christine Tew
The vision for the Center for Soy Innovation at the time of the grand opening in March was of a bustling hub for groups of all ages to experience the ways soy impacts theirlives – first-hand and hands-on. As the uncertainty and the ever-evolving situation around COVID-19 continued throughout the spring and summer, it became clear that school field trips and similar groups of visitors were unlikely for fall.
The theme for so much during the past six months has been “Pivot!,” whether transitioning a beloved event to a new format or restructuring days to account for new roles at home. For the Missouri Soybean team, service became the central point for that redirection. Rather than focus on the plans that were laid aside, the leaders behind the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council and Missouri Soybean Association focused their energy on meeting partners where they were – largely virtually, and occasionally outdoors.
Virtually, the resources are rolling. And new partnerships, including an expanded program effort with Ag Education on the Move, mean even more flexible online resources arecoming this winter.
Online, people interested in learning more about the Center have a new web hub to explore: mosoy.org/ innovation. The page is home to the Center’s virtual tour and a photo stream. It also links to Missouri Soybeans’ YouTube page, where the same videos about farming, biodiesel and other uses for soy visitors could previously only see within the Center are now accessible from any connected device.
A summertime partnership with Missouri State Parks made for even more videos, including a fun session where children and parents may join “Professor Legume” making soy plastic and exploring different items in their homes that may be made from soy. A fun story time partnership with Missouri Farmers Care saw teachers and parents across Missouri get their own copies of the book “Henry Ford: Full of Beans” this summer as well.
The “Learn About Soybeans” tab on mosoy.org has new resources, too, including Simon the Soybean activity pages suitable for elementary school ages. Activities range from coloring sheets to puzzles and word searches and can be printed or downloaded for personal use.
Have questions about food or farming you’d planned to ask during a visit to the Center for Soy Innovation? That page has options for connecting with Missouri farmers through the CommonGround program and reaching out to Missouri Soybean staff, too.
To learn more, explore mosoy.org or reach out to the Center directly.
Photos by Jason Jenkins, Mill Creek Communications. Find the entire October issue here.