RICHMOND—Virginia’s Agriculture in the Classroom program will celebrate Agriculture Literacy Week with National Agriculture Week March 13-19.
Volunteers from the state’s agriculture community, including more than 50 county Farm Bureaus, will read books about agriculture in their local schools. Many will be reading the book Ready, Set, GROW!, published last year by AITC, and donating copies to school libraries.
Participants will include Todd Haymore, Virginia’s secretary of agriculture and forestry; Gerard Robinson, state secretary of education; Matt Lohr, commissioner of agriculture and consumer services, whose family farms in Rockingham County; and Virginia Farm Bureau Federation President Wayne F. Pryor, who farms in Goochland County.
"Having members of the agriculture community in classrooms across Virginia is a great opportunity for teachers and students to learn about agriculture from those who know it best," said AITC Executive Director Karen Davis. "Our goal was to reach 100 classrooms in our first year; so far more than 1,000 books have been sent out, and more requests are coming in every day."
Ready, Set, GROW! is a rhyming tour of Virginia farms, led by the character Farmer Ben, who is modeled after 21st-century Virginia producers. It takes readers to an apple orchard, a dairy farm, a horse farm, poultry houses, a peanut field and other locations that show the diversity of agriculture in the commonwealth.
Virginia AITC is part of a nationwide effort to help teachers and students understand and appreciate agriculture, which is Virginia’s and the nation’s largest industry. The program provides training and materials to about 1,800 teachers and pre-service teachers each year, and its website at AgInTheClass.org, provides teachers with Standards of Learning-aligned lessons, literacy activities and more. All AITC services are provided to schools and teachers at no cost.
Contact Davis at 804-290-1142.