STEUBEN CO., N.Y. — New York State Assemblyman Phil Palmesano will read the 2022 Agriculture Literacy book, Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table by Jacqueline Briggs Martin online during New York Agricultural Literacy Week March 21-25, 2022. Cornell Cooperative Extension of Steuben County delivers the annual agriculture-themed book to as many Steuben County classrooms and school libraries as possible each year in celebration of New York agriculture. To view Assemblyman Palmesano’s reading of the book, please visit http://putknowledgetowork.org/agriculture/ag-in-the-classroom.
Volunteers throughout the state, like Assemblyman Palmesano, will read the book to elementary students, with a focus on second grade classrooms. Farmers, FFA and 4-H members, adults engaged in a career in agriculture, and engaged in our food system, volunteer to enthusiastically engage students in a paired hands-on activity related to the book to extend learning. The book is then donated to the school or classroom library with a bookplate recognizing donors and our celebration of New York Agricultural Literacy Week. 2,300 books were donated last year while 75,000 elementary students participated in an experiential learning activity.
“It is so important for our children and community to understand the importance of agriculture in our county. Agriculture Literacy Week is a fun way to help people realize how much we rely on our local farmers,” says Tess McKinley, CCE Steuben Executive Director.
This year’s book will take students on an explorative journey to learn about community gardens and inspire them to build communities through food, even if they only have a pot on their porch to cultivate. Will Allen is no ordinary farmer. A former basketball star, he’s as tall as his truck, and he can hold a cabbage, or a basketball, in one hand. But what is most special about Farmer Will is that he can see what others can’t see. When he looked at an abandoned city lot he saw a huge table, big enough to feed the whole world. No space, no problem. Poor soil, there’s a solution. Need help, found it. Farmer Will is a genius in solving problems.
Jacqueline Briggs Martin tells the inspiring story of an innovator, educator, and community builder. Combined with artist Eric-Shabazz Larkin’s striking artwork, readers will share Will Allen’s optimism and determination to bring good food to every table. This story also showcases the unique diversity of agricultural operations that is especially applicable to New York’s combination of rural, suburban, and urban landscapes.
Throughout the 37 years of this project, children have learned about dairy animals, fiber farms, apple orchards, farm to table restaurants and food systems, farmers markets and growing fresh produce, gardening, maple syrup harvesting, raising chickens, planting trees, and so much more.
New York Agriculture in the Classroom is a partnership between NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, NYS Education Department, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Cornell University, and the New York Farm Bureau. They promote Agriculture Literacy Week to help elementary school children learn about the importance of agriculture in our daily lives and the significance of farming and farmworkers across all genre of agribusinesses.
Agricultural literacy is understanding and being able to communicate the source and value of agriculture and how it affects our daily lives. Over 20% of our nation’s workforce is in some way involved in food processing, marketing, distribution, and sales – and all of us eat. Over 50% of the land in Steuben County is considered agricultural as we are considered a leading county with more farms than most.
For more information about this program, call CCE Steuben at 607-664-2300 or visit PutKnowledgeToWork.org.
–Cornell Cooperative Extension Steuben County