Two hundred fifty thousand. That is the number of students the Kentucky Agriculture and Environment in the Classroom (KyAEC) hopes to reach with food and farm-based lessons and materials in the next two years.
That goal will be made possible with the support of agriculture community partners such as the Kentucky Pork Producers Association.
KPPA recently provided a total of $20,000 to KyAEC for agriculture education program development which will include a pork curriculum for family and consumer science classrooms. Half of the contribution was made possible through the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund.
“KPPA has been a long term partner in helping us provide agriculture education to Kentucky’s students, says KyAEC Executive Director Jennifer Elwell.
“In addition to general agriculture education, we want to address specific goals of Kentucky’s pork industry.”
KPPA and KyAEC will be meeting in the coming weeks to begin work on curriculum development. KyAEC wants to make sure that production information, market cuts, food safety, and preparation are all included and packaged in a way that will be easy for teachers to utilize.
“I look forward to working with KPPA on this project,” says Elwell.
“There is a great need for food curriculum that comes from the farm community and can be implemented without a dedicated educator, which limits the number of students that can be reached.”
Another impending project to encourage a deeper understanding of Kentucky agriculture in schools is to develop a comprehensive agriculture and food issues website. Filled with student questions, industry expert answers and curriculum, this resource will challenge students to consider technologies and careers that make food and renewable resource production possible.
Elwell says careers in agriculture will be a primary focus of the web site and other KyAEC programs.
“Even as early as kindergarten, vocational studies and career readiness has become a major component of the Kentucky Core Academic Standards, and I want to make sure that we are developing and revamping programs to assist teachers. I also hope that learning the why and how of the many agriculture careers available will spark some interest in students at an earlier age.”
KPPA has also for many years provided funding for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture operated Mobile Science Activity Centers, which provide agriscience-based lessons at elementary schools across the commonwealth. The centers reach about 24,000 students and 800 teachers each year, and the KDA will soon put a third center into operation thanks to the many KyAEC sponsors and the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund.
Additional KyAEC programs include the school assembly show Agriculture Adventures and the Agriculture Literacy Network, which equips educators with the resources, materials and training to provide quality, standards-based lessons.
KyAEC was also recently approved to market a special agricultural literacy license plate for non-farm vehicles in Kentucky. Once the minimum number of plates are reserved and manufactured, additional income will be available for programs.
To learn more about the Kentucky Agriculture and Environment in the Classroom and its programs, visit www.teachkyag.org or contact Jennifer Elwell at email@example.com or 502-921-2625.
Kentucky Agriculture and Environment in the Classroom, Inc., is a 501(c)3 non-profit coalition of agriculture organizations, businesses and individuals working to teach more students the significance and impact agriculture has on their daily lives through program development, promotion, and integration. Improved agricultural literacy develops the next generation of informed consumers.
Article provided by Kentucky Agriculture and Environment in the Classroom, Inc. and printed with permission.