Spearheaded by Chef Mike Erickson, culinary instructor at John Connally High School (a Texas ProStart school), TRUE BEEF: From Pasture to Plate had its first official public screening during SXSW Edu in March. The documentary, directed by professional Austin filmmaker David Barrow, follows Pflugerville ISD students as they learn about beef production from ranches and stockyards to feedlots and finally to the consumer's plate. "Everything they learned with True Beef really enhanced the curriculum and took it to the next level so that it can actually be applied, so they see a real world issue and use of it," Erickson said. Second year culinary arts student Evelyn Santos said the program gave her the opportunity to learn more about the beef industry as well as give her the skills to work as part of a culinary team. "The best thing about being in the program is all the experiences we had," Santos said. "We have more opportunities than a lot of kids, because a lot of students don't have this program and they want to become chefs. We get to start it so young." The school district is hoping to work with a distributor to market and sell the film to be used by more than 200 high school culinary arts programs and 1,100 FFA (Future Farmers of America) chapters in Texas, totaling more than 30,000 current students learning about agriculture and culinary arts in Texas. In additional TRUE BEEF news, the Texas Beef Council is hosting a VIP, invitation only screening at the Bob Bullock Museum Theater. State Representative Celia Israel (Travis county) is planning a House Resolution congratulating the students on the film, and hopefully will have the students at the Capitol to be recognized on the House floor. TRA members active in the Austin chapter are reaching out to the owners of Alamo Drafthouse to see if it is possible to screen TRUE BEEF in other locations. The culinary instructor and agriculture instructor at Caprock High School in Amarillo (also a Texas ProStart school) are planning a screening of TRUE BEEF for their students and the community. Chef Erickson is presenting the TRUE BEEF documentary and educational program at the Meat Industry Management Conference in California and the filmmaker is submitting the documentary to additional film festivals around the country. Lastly, look for an article about TRUE BEEF in Beef Magazine in May. If you are interested in viewing TRUE BEEF and/or hosting a screening, please contact the TRA Education Foundation at 800-395-2872.