New York Agriculture in the Classroom | December 2018
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Important Dates:

Dec. 4- Farm to School Grant Application Deadline

Dec. 19- Christmas Tree Farm Virtual Field Trip

Dec. 15- AgCultures Ambassador Application Due

Dec. 23- Grow with Us Applications Due

Jan. 7- North Country Jr. Iron Chef Registration Opens

Jan. 20- CCE-AITC Grant Applications Due

March 1- NYFB Scholarship Due

March18-22- Agricultural Literacy Week

June 18-21- National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas

Virtual Field Trip to a Christmas Tree Farm

Join us for our first Virtual Field Trip to Rockinghorse Farm. Log in from your classroom for this LIVE experience. Your students will have a chance to see a working tree farm and trees of all ages, learn about the environmental impact of real Christmas trees versus artificial, and ask questions to farmer Julie. 

This experience is limited to the first ten elementary classrooms to register. Learn more and register today!
Grow With Us Grant Deadline Approaching
Following the success of last year, New York Agriculture in the Classroom is again awarding grow systems through the Grow With Us Grant to extend the school gardening season. 

The  Grow with Us Grant allows schools to apply for
three types of grow systems. Schools should apply for the grow system that would best meet their educational goals, classroom space needs, and consider their experience level in school gardening and curriculum integration. 

Applications are open now and due Sunday, December 23rd .  Visit our website  to learn more about the eligibility requirements, view photos of the featured grow systems, and apply for the grant.

Become an AgCultures Ambassador!
The LT Media Lab at the University of Minnesota, in collaboration with the CHS Foundation, is seeking one passionate educator from each of the 50 states to serve as AgCultures ambassadors in spring 2019.  AgCultures ambassadors can be from any discipline, and from formal or informal education settings. Applications are due by December 15, 2018, and winners will be notified by January 15, 2019. Learn more and apply here

It's Time for Holiday Lessons!
You can't have the holidays without agriculture! Enrich your holiday curriculum with FREE educational resources from the Christmas Tree Farmers Association of NY.  Through these multi-disciplinary lessons, students will increase their ecological literacy and their understanding of the landscape in which they live. They'll learn the historical context for decorating with evergreens at the darkest time of year-- a tradition that long predates the religious celebration of Christmas.  Check out all the available resources on  our website !

President's Environmental Youth Award
The President's Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) recognizes outstanding environmental projects by K-12 youth. Each year the PEYA program honors a wide variety of projects developed by young individuals, school classes (kindergarten through high school), summer camps, public interest groups, and youth organizations to promote environmental awareness. Projects can range from planting trees to creating videos about environmental issues, and more. For more information and to apply by February 1, 2019, visit
North Country Jr. Iron Chef
Starting January 7, 2019 schools in St. Lawrence, Jefferson, Lewis, Franklin, Clinton, Essex, and Hamilton counties can register online for the North Country Jr. Iron Chef competition. Teams will compete by creating healthy recipes using a combination of fresh produce and USDA commodity foods. Register and learn more at

NY Farm Bureau 2019 Agricultural Youth Scholarship
Graduating high school seniors who plan on continuing their education to prepare for a career connected to agriculture are eligible to apply for the New York Farm Bureau 2019 Agricultural Youth Scholarship. Three scholarships in the amounts of $1,500, $1,200, and $1,000 will be awarded. Applications are due via email or postmarked by  March 1, 2019

Agricultural Literacy Grant Spotlight
Melissa Audain and Karen Callum- P.S. 176X at P.S. 178X
"STEM Through Hydroponics"
P.S.176X is located in an urban community within the Bronx, New York. There are approximately 200 students enrolled in their elementary program who are diagnosed with autism. With limited farming space in their urban area, their aim is to teach students how to grow and maintain healthy foods using a hydroponics system that can maximize space and growing potential. 

Throughout the school year, students will journal their experiences, document plant activity through photos and videos, and collaborate with Co-op City River Run gardeners. For a field trip experience, students will visit a farmer's market, the New York Botanical Garden and the Wave Hill Horticulture Gardening Center. Ms. Audain and Ms. Callum's goal is to teach students and their families about how to foster sustainability and to instill a focus on health awareness within the school environment, in their homes, and within the larger community. Aside from the scientific inquiry that students will be engaging in, this project will allow students the opportunity to increase lifelong skills of independence; including increased communication skills, socialization skills, collaboration with peers and problem solving.

Learn more about the Agricultural Literacy Grant and view the other recipients on our website
Teacher Resources
Invasive Species: K-12 Educator Resources
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has released a new webpage all about invasive species. On this page you can find K-12 resources including lesson plans, activities, games, and more. 
United Nations World Food Program 2017 Hunger Map
From Africa and Asia to Latin America and the Near East, there are 815 million people in the world who do not get enough food to lead a normal, active life. This downloadable high resolution Hunger Map provides invaluable information that helps teachers and children learn more about the biggest single risk to global health. 
Food Facts: 7 Reasons to Eat Insects
Eating bugs may not seem appetizing, but according to John Coupland, PhD, CFS, Professor of Food Science at Penn State University and spokesperson for the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), insects are a sustainable alternative protein source. Consider showing this video to your students to change their mindset. 
Elementary Resources
Value-Adding on a Christmas Tree Farm
In this activity, students will learn how to add value to Christmas trees by making scented pillows from balsam fir needles which can be used for gifts or potentially as a fundraiser for your classroom. Older students can also calculate the potential income from selling their value-added projects. To enhance this activity, consider pairing it with the above resources from the Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York or the Discover Christmas Trees lesson (grades K-2 or grades 3-5). 
Bartering Through the Seasons
Students will learn about the seasons, become familiar with the process of wool production, and explore how trade and barter have historically allowed people to satisfy their needs and wants. This lesson is best for grades 3-5 and is paired with the book A New Coat for Anna by Harriet Ziefert. 
Tomato Trivia
Using tomatoes as a theme, the students will practice their math and science skills of estimating, measuring, counting, graphing and sequencing. This lesson is best for grades K-2. 
Middle School/ High School Resources
Food Systems Feed the World
In this lesson for grades 6-8, students will explore the steps and processes that create a food system and gain an understanding of hunger as it relates to the physical well-being, culture, and geographic location of all people. Students will learn what a food system encompasses, create a "food system chain," and discuss why hunger still exists despite modern advances that have made the US food system highly efficient. 
Outbreak Alert- Shigella
Students will analyze a real-life foodborne illness outbreak. They will assume the role of FBI ( F ood B orne  I llness) investigators to plot out the steps and identify the questions to ask in order to get to the source of the outbreak. Students will discuss and compare their investigative approaches to the actual public health investigation. This lesson is a great way to explain the recent outbreak of E.coli infections linked to romaine lettuce. 
King Cotton
In this lesson for grades 9-12, students will learn about the production and processing of cotton and discuss the impact it has had on the history and culture of the United States. For a more enriching experience, pair this lesson with this website  where students can learn about the history of cotton and what scientists are currently doing to study and improve cotton plants.  
Looking Under the Label
Do you ever get overwhelmed in the supermarket wondering what all those labels really mean? In this lesson, students will evaluate food package labels, determine their meaning, and use the  Claim, Evidence, and Reasoning  model to determine the value of the label in relation to food production practices, nutrition, health, and food safety. Students will engage in critical thinking to recognize the impact of food package labels in relation to marketing, consumer perceptions of food, and farming practices.
October Book Nook
Christmas Farm
When Wilma decides her garden needs a new beginning, she gathers all her supplies and sixty-two dozen balsam seedlings to start a Christmas tree farm. Follow Wilma and Parker, her five-year-old neighbor, year after year as they nurture their trees, keeping careful count of how many they plant, how many perish, and how many grow to become fine, full Christmas trees. A great holiday read-aloud for the month of December.
Bread is For Eating
This book is a bilingual, rhythmic celebration of bread from farmer to baker. It depicts a mother singing to her child about how wheat is planted, grown, harvested, milled, and baked into loaves of life-giving bread. English and Spanish languages are used throughout the book.
Charlie Needs a Cloak
In this book by Tommie dePaola, a shepherd shears his sheep, cards and spins the wool, weaves and dyes the cloth, and sews a beautiful new red cloak for himself.

New York Agriculture in the Classroom |
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Cornell University
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