The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture has recognized the outstanding agricultural literacy efforts of educators and communities across the country with a total of $25,000 in scholarships and grants to build on their work to connect students with how their food is grown.
“We are excited to celebrate and boost the efforts of these outstanding educators and community programs through the White-Reinhardt Fund,”
Daniel Meloy, Foundation Executive Director
The Foundation awarded 10 teachers and classroom volunteers with $1,500 scholarships to attend the National Ag in the Classroom Conference, to be held in Salt Lake City, Utah, June 23-26. The conference helps educators from across the nation learn how to incorporate real-life agricultural applications into science, social studies, language arts, math and nutrition lessons. Scholarship recipients were judged on their past use of innovative programs to educate students about agriculture as well as plans to implement information gained at the NAITC conference in their own lesson plans and share the information with other teachers and volunteer educators.
This year’s recipients are: Leah Slaughter, Lake Weston Elementary School, Orlando, Florida; Jenna Stevens, Clinton County Ag in the Classroom, DeWitt, Iowa; Nancy Smith, Bentwood Elementary, Olathe, Kansas; Audrey Varney, Maine Cooperative Extension Maine 4-H/University of Maine Farmington, Turner, Maine; Christopher Arrington, Marion Public Schools, Marion, Michigan; Karrie Newton, Northern Granville Middle School, Bullock, North Carolina; Matthew Koth, Highland Elementary School, Omaha, Nebraska; Brianne Willson, Camden Middle School, Ava, New York; Debra Nelson, Bottineau High School, Bottineau, North Dakota; and Melissa Shirk, Philadelphia Elementary, Loudon, Tennessee.
The Foundation also awarded 10 communities with $1,000 grants, which will be allocated through county Farm Bureaus this spring and used to create new agricultural literacy projects or expand existing agricultural literacy efforts. Criteria for selecting winners included: the effectiveness of demonstrating a strong connection between agriculture and education; how successfully the project enhances learner engagement in today’s food, fiber and fuel systems; and the processes and timelines for accomplishing project goals.
Kent County Farm Bureau, Delaware: University of Delaware Cooperative Extension, through the 4-H program, provides a program that teaches embryology in kindergarten through 2nd grade classrooms throughout Kent County. Grant monies will be used to upgrade the incubators used.
Banks County Farm Bureau, Georgia: Banks County Farm Bureau and Banks County Elementary School are collaborating to create an outdoor garden classroom. This will build open the already existing gardens, allowing for more hands-on activities in an outdoor environment and teaching students about geography and natural resources.
Barrow County Farm Bureau, Georgia: Kennedy Elementary School wants to grow a tower garden inside; adding to the school garden and raised beds already outside. This tower garden will give students an inside look at aeroponics and get to see differences with growing plants inside and outside.
Douglas County Farm Bureau, Georgia: Dorsett Shoals Elementary School has a cooking and gardening program, Growing Readers, for students after school. This grant will be used to expand on the program with the use of agriculture books and planting grade level gardens.
Hall County Farm Bureau, Georgia: Lanier Elementary will turn an existing school garden into an outdoor agricultural classroom by adding raised beds. This will turn a mostly unused area into an area used weekly by all grade levels.
Franklin County Farm Bureau, Illinois: Creation of traveling book barns for kindergarten through eighth grade students. In addition to agriculture books, the barns will include accompanying lessons and activities to take learning further.
McLean County Farm Bureau, Illinois: McLean County Farm Bureau plans to expand the reach of our Ag in the Classroom program with Breakout Boxes to incorporate hands-on learning about a variety of ag-related topics. FFA chapters, museums and teachers will also have access to the kits.
Randolph County Farm Bureau, Indiana: Monroe Junior/Senior High School is updating their greenhouse and agriculture program. This grant will be used for Project Lead the Way curricula for junior high students covering energy and agriculture topics.
Washington Farm Bureau, Tennessee: Kindergarten through eighth grade students will learn about agriculture through a school garden, aquaponics and AFBFA educational resources. They will also meet local farmers for the complete farm to table experience.
Moore County Farm Bureau, Texas: The Cactus Elementary Community Garden Project started in 2015 and uses science and enrichment classes to take care of a school garden. This grant will be used to expand the program to an afterschool program, BLAST, which will help grow vegetables and herbs.