A Tennessee third-grade class is the winner of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture’s First Peas to the Table Contest, a national competition for schools that encourages children in kindergarten through fifth grade to plant, raise, and harvest peas. Mary Tomlin’s class at Fayette Academy in Somerville won the grand prize – a visit from Miss America 2017 Savvy Shields.
“I’m confident that students will enjoy hearing from Miss America 2017 Savvy Shields about her platform of ‘Eat Better, Live Better,’ which aims to educate people on how the foods we eat make an impact on our lives as a whole,” said Julia Recko, education outreach director of the Foundation.
Student teams competed to grow the greatest amount of peas (measured in cups) using no more than 20 pea seeds during the official contest period, Feb. 20 – May 15. Tomlin’s class harvested 8 cups of peas.
Ten schools submitted pea measurements, although even more schools participated. Some schools’ peas were not ready to harvest at the end of the contest.
“Educators agree, getting their hands dirty is the best way for children to learn,” said Recko. “Through this contest, we’re pleased to offer a fun, hands-on learning opportunity for students across the country.”
The contest highlights the Foundation’s 2016 Book of the Year, “First Peas to the Table,” by Susan Grigsby. The Foundation created the contest to help students understand the importance of healthy foods and agriculture in their everyday lives and to increase their understanding of how plants grow.
Students competing in the contest were allowed to grow peas in any manner including in a hot house, hoop house, indoor pot, planter, or outside garden. In conjunction with the contest, Recko encouraged educators to invite local farmers and ranchers to speak in their classrooms about food production and the importance of agriculture.