At Maysville High School in Maysville, Missouri, population 1,100, classes can be a little difficult for the squeamish. The coursework can include reading and algebra assignments, but it can also require a lot of blood and courage.

In 2022, the high school, an hour’s drive north of Kansas City, added a farm-to-table elective course taught by family and consumer sciences teacher Amy Kanak, who works with an agriculture teacher, Brandi Ellis. works together. In agriculture class, students learned to harvest and process farm and wild animals and to dissect organs in science class. The new course gives them the opportunity to cook meals using the harvested meat, a logical consequence of the hard work of students in other classes. Ms. Kanak provides guidance on the end of the nose-to-tail process, in food preparation, yield, budgeting and bulk cooking.

But it all starts with the most difficult and chaotic part: killing and dismembering the animals. For many students, it is their first time holding a knife and butchering. Ms. Kanak hopes students complete their course with an understanding of where their food comes from.

Ms Ellis, who believes the lessons are important at a time of rising food bills, said: “It forces them out of their comfort zone a little bit.”

Garrett Bray, then a Maysville High School graduate, pulled a freshly shot deer out of the woods on his family’s property in 2022. Garrett learned to hunt from his father and hunted from a young age.

Max DeShon, right, helps pull two animals out of Garrett’s pickup. Normally, Garrett would have dressed the deer himself in the field, but he delivered them to the students so they could learn processing and butchering.

Sophia Redman, a 2022 freshman, makes the first cut into a deer during an agriculture class.

Kaleb Jestes, left, processes deer meat and sorts it into different pieces during a farm-to-table food class. A single deer averages 60 to 70 pounds of processed meat, making it an affordable option if you know how to hunt and process the animal yourself. Deer permits in Missouri will start at $7.50 for antlerless deer or $18 for all deer starting in 2024. Youth Days cost even less.

Eighth-grade science teacher Cindy Eggleston shows her students (from right), Keely Hardin, Makenzie Mason and Kella Morris, freshly removed deer organs that will be part of an anatomy lesson about the heart and lungs.

Max Heintz collects a rooster from a shed outside the agriculture building at the start of the school day in December 2023. A local resident called Ms. Ellis and asked to donate seven overly aggressive roosters to the program. Ms. Ellis teaches students to kill and process chickens every year, often after they have been raised at school.

Killed roosters bled in trash cans in the farm building.

Makenzie, in 2023, walked and measured the water temperature while her classmates Nathan Schnitzer (center) and Bo May held their culled chickens during an agriculture class. Throughout the day, various courses are involved in the entire process: culling, skinning the carcasses by first immersing them in boiling hot water, and preparing the birds for cooking and eating by removing organs and feet.

Keagan Reeder (left) and Cooper Ray (center) in hats stand nearby while Colton LeMunyon, wearing a Buffalo Bills hoodie, grills chicken that the students have marinated.

Colton digs into a fried leg of a rooster that was culled by a class that morning. Students commented on how tough the meat was, which was likely due to the age of the roosters.

From right: Kameron Keesaman, Robert Stinley Jr. and Bo Zeikle put on their aprons at the start of a cooking class.

Roasting chicken livers from roosters that the agriculture classes had killed and processed the week before.

Charlee Kimbrell (left), Robert Boucher (center) and teacher Amy Kanak “cheer” on their fried chicken livers before tasting them.

Chicken-fried venison steak with gravy, served with fried potatoes and green beans, prepared and served in Ms. Kanak’s class, the end of a process that began in the bed of a pickup truck.

Katie Currid contributed reporting.

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