tales of the fairy god mother book cover

Ag Lit Week to Reach 1000 Second Graders in Columbia and Greene Counties

Agricultural Literacy Week has been celebrated by New York Agriculture in the Classroom (NYAITC) for the past 17 years as a way to promote agricultural literacy and learning to students across New York State. Each year, with the help of county-based coordinators, thousands of volunteers visit schools to read an agriculture-themed book to elementary students. This year NYAITC and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia and Greene Counties are excited to continue this statewide event the week of March 15-19 through virtual engagement along with classroom ice cream making kits.

The featured book this year is Chuck's Ice Cream Wish (Tales of the Dairy Godmother) by Viola Butler. The book will help students understand the importance of dairy in communities across New York and learn about the journey their food takes from farm to fridge. With over 4,000 dairy farms and ranking fourth nationally as the largest producer of milk, dairy is vital to New York State. The dairy community in New York includes both large and small farms. It also boasts processing facilities of various types and sizes, from major global processing companies to small artisanal dairy product makers. NYAITC is proud to feature a book that displays the unique markets and diversity that encompasses many aspects of New York’s dairy industry while also focusing on processing and how consumers contribute to agriculture.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia & Greene County’s 4-H Program is coordinating this program locally. We hope that schools will participate in this opportunity for students to learn about where food comes from and the people who are involved in producing essential products in their lives. This literacy activity will help teachers address learning standards in the following areas: ELA (Language for Literacy Response & Expression), Science (Living Environment, Systems Thinking, Technology), Career Development (knowledge about different careers), the Arts (Knowing & Using Arts Materials & Resources), and Social Studies (Geography and Economics).

This year’s program will be held virtually with the virtual reading experiences coordinated by 4-H staff. Classroom teachers will have access to the pre-recorded video reading of the book as well as support materials, farm tour videos, the classroom ice cream making kit and the book. Books have been sponsored by our local Farm Bureau organizations and will be donated to each second grade classroom in Columbia and Greene county.

To participate schools must return the registration form found by following this link: Ag in the Classroom Registration Form

For each classroom participating – every second grade classroom that registers will be provided with both the book and classroom ice cream making kit. Other classrooms may also participate and will receive access to the video reading as well as additional support materials. You may also contact Linda Tripp, 4-H Educator at Lke2@cornell.edu or 518-605-0786. Please reply by February 28.

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. New York Agriculture 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 recognizes the connection between agricultural production and the daily need for food and fiber products.

For more information about New York Agriculture in the Classroom visit their website (agclassroom.org/ny). 

Last updated February 18, 2021