Special to the OBSERVER
In celebration of National Agriculture Week (March 18th -22nd), volunteers throughout New York State will read a book with an agricultural theme to second graders. Students and teachers will also benefit from follow up activities and hands-on projects. The book will be given to the school library with a bookplate recognizing the donor and NY Ag Literacy Week. 1,400 books were donated last year while thousands of second graders participated in fun and educational activities.
This year's Literacy Volunteer readers will teach second graders about beekeeping through the book The Beeman, by Laurie Krebs and Valeria Cis. Farmers are encouraged to become volunteer readers so students can meet the people directly responsible for their food supply. However, you don't have to be a farmer to be a volunteer reader; you can just have an interest in educating students about the food and fiber system in New York State. We provide facts about each year's topic so you can answer student questions. If you wish to become a Literacy Volunteer and read to second graders about agricultural topics next year, contact Colleen Cavagna at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 585-268-7644 ext. 12.
If you wish to be a part of Ag Literacy Week, but don't want to be a Literacy Volunteer reader, consider donating to the program to cover the cost of the books given to our schools. Each book costs $10.00 a piece and if you donate, your name will be included on the inside cover of the book.
Agricultural literacy is the basic knowledge about agriculture that all citizens need to make informed decisions impacting careers, health, and public policy. Over 20% of our nation's workforce is in some way involved in food processing, marketing, distribution, and sales and all of us eat. NY Ag in the Classroom envisions a day when all students have the opportunity to understand the economic, social, historical, and scientific significance of agriculture to our society; explore food system career opportunities; and recognize the connection between agricultural production and the daily need for food and fiber products.
To learn more about NY Ag in the Classroom, including the Kids Growing Food school garden program and the Be Aware of NY Agriculture Contest visit the website, www.agclassroom.org/ny/programs/literacy.htm.
Colleen Cavagna Cornell University Cooperative Extension Community Educator