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Foundation for Agriculture awards $26,000 in Ag Literacy Grants

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The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture is celebrating and uplifting outstanding agricultural literacy programs with a total of $26,000 in scholarships and grants to help educators, volunteers and communities connect agriculture to students’ daily lives.

The Foundation sponsors the scholarships and grants in cooperation with the American Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee through the White-Reinhardt Fund for Education.

“It’s exciting to see the many ways educators are innovating to bring agriculture to life and inspire students to learn more about where their food comes from,” said Daniel Meloy, executive director of the Foundation. “The teachers and volunteers leading these programs are also playing a vital role in helping students understand how they can be involved in agriculture now and in the future.”

The Foundation awarded 10 teachers and classroom volunteers with $1,500 scholarships to attend the National Ag in the Classroom Conference in Saratoga Springs, New York, from June 28 to July 1.

This year’s recipients are:

  • Kimber Fant, Eufaula Elementary School, Eufaula, Alabama
  • Victoria Gwaltney, Oakleaf High School, Gainesville, Florida
  • Hannah Hebert, Rene a Rost Middle School, Kaplan, Louisiana
  • Stacey Sanborn, Manchester School, Standish, Maine
  • Tonya Claybrook, Highlandville Elementary School, Highlandville, Missouri
  • Kerra Olson, Boulder Elementary School, Billings, Montana
  • Christie Puckett, Maysville Public School, Maysville, Oklahoma
  • Valerie Teal, Hillsboro Elementary, Morrison, Tennessee
  • Jessica Brogley, the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin Platteville, Platteville, Wisconsin
  • Catherine Agnew, Nathan Hale High School, Oconomowoc, Wisconsin

The conference helps educators 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.

The Foundation also awarded 11 communities with grants totaling $11,000, 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.

The 2022 spring grant recipients are:

Georgia Farm Bureau

The Georgia Ag Experience, a 36-foot mobile classroom, travels all around Georgia to showcase agriculture in the state. The Georgia Farm Bureau Foundation will use the grant to buy equipment such as webcams, microphones and cameras. This equipment will allow the Foundation to interview farmers and host live farm events, as well as enable farmers to film directly from their farms to further share how food, fuel and fiber is grown.

Ada County Farm Bureau, Idaho

Project Impact STEM Academy is the first charter school in Idaho to offer agriculture education to grades 1-12. Ada County seeks to create agriculture literacy tubs for each unit taught in grades 1-8 at Project Impact STEM Academy, creating hands-on learning experiences. Examples include grinding wheat and making cheese in the food science unit and spinning wool in the fiber unit.

Warren County Farm Bureau, Kentucky

Lost River, a K-6 school in Warren County, will use grant funds to create the “Get Your Buzz On!” project. This project will create a pollination station, which will include raised beds for tomatoes and flowers and a “Buzzin’ About Books” area in the library that will house books about pollination, healthy eating and food.

Washtenaw County Farm Bureau, Michigan

Community Day Care Inc. in Washtenaw County will design, plant and care for a sustainable garden to learn about the life cycle and how food goes from farm to table. Students will also learn about composting and how to set up a farmstand. In addition to the garden, funds will be used to buy accurate ag books and Michigan Ag in the Classroom resources.

Lapeer County Farm Bureau, Michigan

Lapeer County Farm Bureau will use grant funds to expand the Seed to Spoon Cereal Project to additional elementary schools within the county. The Seed to Spoon Cereal Project allows students to explore where food comes from, especially grains grown locally that can be milled into cereal and flour in Michigan. Each classroom will be given agriculture education kits that include accurate ag books, Ag Mags and lessons.

McLeod County Farm Bureau, Minnesota

McLeod County is partnering with Wheel and Cog Children’s Museum to create a new exhibit titled “Down on the Farm.” This exhibit will offer hands-on play opportunities to simulate real-world activities. This exhibit will offer creative ways for children to plant, plow, harvest and prepare foods found on local farms.

Duplin County Farm Bureau, North Carolina

Duplin County found new ways to promote agriculture in classrooms during the COVID-19 pandemic through ag literacy boxes. These boxes will be housed in an Ag Literacy Check-Out Barn, built by local high school students, where they can be checked out. Each box will include books, supplemental lessons and ag accurate toys/manipulatives.

Hampton County Farm Bureau, South Carolina

The Hampton County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee plans to buy two aquaponics systems and books each month for eight Hampton County schools. The long-term goal is to eventually put an aquaponics system in all school libraries in Hampton County.

Wilson County Farm Bureau, Tennessee

Wilson County Farm Bureau will use grant funds to create hands-on materials and equipment that teaches students the important of honeybees and pollination. This includes accurate ag books, Ag Mags, models of flowers and bees, a real beehive and beekeeper suits. These will be used at W.A. Wright Elementary School in STEM classes.

Franklin County Farm Bureau, Virginia

Franklin County Farm Bureau will use their grant to bring more advanced environmental educational classes into the elementary schools in Franklin County using 3-D environmental educational models. The Franklin County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee will use funds to purchase a 3-D Enviroscape model and lessons. The committee will travel to county elementary schools with the model to show the role farmers play in protecting the environment.

Hampshire County Farm Bureau, West Virginia

Hampshire County Farm Bureau will use grant funds to refresh books in Book Barns that are used in all Hampshire County elementary schools. New books, Ag Mags and educator guides will be bought to replace missing and worn titles and expand the library to new topics with the goal of helping students further understand the diversity of agriculture.

The White-Reinhardt Fund for Education honors two former Women’s Leadership Committee chairwomen, Berta White and Linda Reinhardt, who were trailblazers in early national efforts to expand the outreach of agricultural education and improve agricultural literacy. More information about the scholarships and grants can be found here.

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