SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — For the first time in ten years, New York Agriculture in the Classroom had the opportunity to host ten states and National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization leadership for the annual Agriculture in the Classroom Eastern Region meeting.
State leaders from Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington D.C., and West Virginia travelled to Saratoga Springs, New York in April to participate in hands-on learning sessions, attend farm and business tours, share their state success in promoting agricultural literacy, and to collaborate with one another.
The meeting kicked off with a learning session led by Lynn Wallin, National Center for Agricultural Literacy Education Specialist, about STEM based-lessons and how they can be integrated into programming and educator workshops. During this session participants were able to have hands-on experiences with lessons that involved robotics, electricity, and real-world problem solving. Lynn’s other workshops focused on phenomena-based instruction and project-based learning. These sessions included hands-on activities, resources, and demonstrated how state contacts can implement these teaching styles in their educator workshops.
Participants were led on a walking tour of Saratoga Spring’s restaurants to understand the diverse audiences served, and how the local food system supports and influences the seasonal menus. From the high-end Adelphi Hotel, to Boca Bistro, and the casual Hattie’s Chicken Shack, participants were able to ask questions about the restaurant’s supply chain, customer base, and history in order to get a full picture of the diverse food system of Saratoga Springs.
Engaging workshops and tours of local agriculturally-based businesses included Thomas Poultry Farm in Schuylerville, Battenkill Fibers Carding & Spinning Mill, and Longfellows Restaurant in Saratoga Springs. Each of these businesses spoke about their community connections and their processes that set them apart. Jessica Ziehm, Taste NY Agriculture Marketing Educator, helped the group understand the barriers and opportunities for farmers to share the message of agriculture. A reception and dinner for Eastern Region Agriculture in the Classroom State Contacts and friends allowed for partner organizations and New York teachers to meet and better understand the diverse nature of Agriculture in the Classroom programming across the east coast.
Participants left with resources, knowledge, and connections they could bring back to their home states to further the mission of increasing the agricultural literacy of students and teachers. New York Agriculture in the Classroom was grateful to have the opportunity to host and expose the state leaders to the diverse agricultural landscape of Eastern New York.
For more information about New York Agriculture in the Classroom, visit the website at www.agclassroom.org/ny. New York Agriculture in the Classroom is a partnership of Cornell University, NYS Department of Agriculture & Markets, NYS Education Department, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and NY Farm Bureau. Working with classroom teachers and volunteers throughout the state, New York Agriculture in the Classroom fosters an awareness, understanding, and appreciation of our food and fiber system.
–New York Agriculture in the Classroom
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