RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia’s Agriculture in the Classroom program will hold its 10th annual Agriculture Literacy Week March 9-13.
Farm Bureau volunteers and others in the agriculture community will mark the week by reading books about agriculture and farming to students, including the 2020 AITC Book of the Year, PB&J Hooray! by Janet Nolan. The book traces the paths of grapes, peanuts and wheat as they make their way from the field to a lunchtime favorite.
“Children make a connection with real farmers and ask the most interesting questions about animals, gardens and life on the farm in general,” said Tammy Maxey, Virginia AITC senior education manager. “Volunteer readers often take examples from their own farm to create a show and tell for children with hands-on experience.”
Volunteers also will provide interactive projects such as coloring pages and wheat grinding demonstrations that complement the book and further students’ learning.
Virginia AITC began celebrating Agriculture Literacy Week in 2011, and it is the program’s largest educational event. The week provides students with an opportunity to hear stories about farming, food production and the sources of their food. Last year more than 1,500 volunteers read to 63,000 children in over 3,000 classes in 500 schools.
Having members of the agriculture community in classrooms across Virginia allows “students and educators alike to draw the connection from farm to table and learn about how integral Virginia agriculture is in our daily lives,” Maxey said. “Volunteer readers, including those from Farm Bureau and state and local agriculture officials, along with many other friends of agriculture, share the industry’s story with our youngest learners.”
As part of a nationwide effort, the organization helps teachers and students understand Virginia’s and the nation’s largest industry. The program provides an opportunity for children to connect to agriculture through volunteer-led activities, school grants, professional development and web resources at AgInTheClass.org.
Agriculture Literacy Week volunteers in recent years have included county Farm Bureau volunteers, members of Farm Bureau Women’s and Young Farmers committees, FFA and 4-H members, partners from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and other state agencies, and members of other agricultural organizations and businesses. Colonial Farm Credit, Farm Credit of the Virginias and Southern States Cooperative Inc. have been major supporters as well.
–Virginia Farm Bureau