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Monthly news & updates
February 2021 | Issue #113
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NEW Virtual Read ME Agriculture: March 22-26, 2021
Our 2021 Read ME Agriculture Program has a new look!
Due to challenges of the pandemic, this year we will offer 20+ interactive virtual readings by Zoom during the week of March 22 – 26 in 4 fixed time slots per day.
9:00 – 9:45, 10:00 – 10:45, 12:00 – 12:45, 1:00 – 1:45  

All books are appropriate to serve grades Pre-K - 4, but some may have target audiences for specific grade levels. Different readers will be using different books. Classroom teachers can sign-up for sessions that fit their schedule or curriculum needs. The zoom link will be emailed directly to the teacher at the address provided on the registration and may be shared with students that are joining remotely. You can register for one or more sessions, but we ask that you remain committed to attending the sessions you register for. Once a session is filled it will be removed from the choices so register early. If something changes and you are unable to attend, please let us know as soon as possible. You must register to receive the Zoom link for your session(s).

View the Read ME Agriculture Program Schedule to learn about the different books and readers, and to register for sessions. 
The reading is planned to take 20 – 30 minutes with time for questions at the end. Teachers will ask questions from their students. It may be helpful to talk about it with your class ahead. Sessions will not go over 45 minutes.

We realize that some schools have readers that are within the system and may want a more traditional approach. Please contact to arrange that or with any other questions.

[All classrooms participating will still receive a book and materials for future use via regular mail!]
Fuel Up to Play 60
Fuel Up to Play 60 is a leading national in-school health and wellness program launched by the National Football League and National Dairy Council, which was founded by America's dairy farmers, in collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture. Fuel Up to Play 60's primary focus is to help schools meet their wellness goals and encourage youth to consume nutrient-rich foods (low-fat and fat-free dairy, fruits, vegetables and whole grains and lean protein foods and achieve at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day.

Up to $4,000 per year is available to qualified K-12 schools enrolled in Fuel Up to Play 60 to jump-start healthy changes.

Application Opens: Wednesday, March 10, 2021
Application Closes: Wednesday, April 28, 2021
Upcoming Webinar Opportunities
AgrAbility National Training Workshop
Tuesdays, February 2 - August 30 // 1-2:30pm ET
The AgrAbility National Training Workshop (NTW) is the foremost educational event addressing issues related to disability in agriculture. These sessions will cover topics such as agriculture as therapy, preventing secondary injuries, assistive technology for agriculture, adding value to your farm, dealing with stress, and veterans in agriculture. A schedule of the sessions and registration information will be coming soon and will also be available on the NTW tab of the National AgrAbility Project website:

Webinar: Building Community Interest & Investment in Your School Garden
February 3 // 2 p.m. ET
This virtual gathering will be a discussion of strategies that increase community around school gardens, especially during the summer months. The Big Green Chicago Team will facilitate a conversation with City Blossoms, Denver Urban Gardens, and the audience to collectively reflect, question, and share experiences to support efforts to strengthen school gardens through the summer. Learn more and register here: 
Maine Nutrition Council Virtual Conference
The Maine Nutrition Council is having a virtual conference this year
Nutrition During the Pandemic: Trends and Triumphs.
The conference will take place over two days, April 6th and 7th, 2021 from 1pm-4:30pm.

Conference Registration coming soon.
This virtual conference will have a reduced fee of $55 for general participants and $25 for students/retired, and includes 6 professional development contact hours.
Harvest of the Month - February is Maine Root Vegetables!
Check out the great HOM materials:

for lessons, activities, books, and more!
Grant Opportunity
The GroMoreGood Grassroots Grant is now open! In partnership with The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation, 175 grants worth a collective total of $100,000 will be awarded. GroMoreGood is open to all nonprofit and tax exempt organizations (including schools) in the United States and US Territories.
Applications Due: February 5, 2021
Teacher Resources Section
Exploring Aquaponics. Grades K-2. The students will identify the basic needs of plants and fish and engineer, assemble, maintain, and observe a small-scale aquaponics system that meets plant and fish needs.

From Wool to Wheel. Grades 3-5. Students will investigate the importance of wool in colonial America and compare and contrast the differences between processing wool then and now. Students will spin, weave, and dye wool and watch videos illustrating how wool was processed in colonial times and how it is processed today.

Sheep See, Sheep Do. Grades 6-8. Students will explore the difference between inherited and acquired traits and understand why knowledge of inherited and acquired traits is important to agriculture. Activities in this lesson include trait sorting, two short movies, a PTC taste test, and student presentations.

Aeroponic Engineering and Vertical Farming. Grades 9-12. Students will use the Engineering Design Process to develop and construct an aeroponic garden to grow a food crop. Students will develop and apply an understanding of plant anatomy and physiology related to plant growth and ultimately discuss the possibilities and limitations of using vertical farming to produce our food.

Looking for more? Explore the Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix HERE
How It's Made: Wool. In five minutes this video covers the history of wool production, the qualities of wool fabric, and everything that goes into producing wool fabric. See a sheep being sheared, and watch as the wool travels through a factory where it is cleaned, blended with other fibers, carded, and spun into yarn. The yarn is then woven into fabric and finished. 
Vertical Farming Video. Use this 4-minute video to explore the benefits and challenges to vertical farming systems which utilize hydroponics to grow plants. Can the land and water conservation advantages outweigh the cost of creating artificial light?
Activities & Resources
Hands-On With Wool. Spinning, dyeing, weaving, and felting wool can easily be done in the classroom. This activity provides instructions and a materials list, making it easy to prepare a hands-on wool project for your class. Wool processing is a topic that connects easily to lessons in history and science.

Classroom Aquaponics Kit. Investigate the basic needs of plants and fish and discover how plants, animals, and bacteria interact in a symbiotic system by assembling, maintaining, and observing a small-scale aquaponics system. This kit contains clear tubs, an overflow drain kit, a submersible fountain pump, flexible tubing, a plastic bell siphon container, expanded clay pellets, a grow light, a timer, ammonium chloride, a water test kit, an aquarium thermometer, seed paper, fish food, a fish net, an aquarium cave, and assembly and maintenance instructions. This kit complements the Exploring Aquaponics lessons. Order this kit online from

Aeroponic Garden Kit. Aeroponics' is a plant cultivation technique where plant roots are suspended in the air and misted with a nutrient and water solution. The Aeroponic Garden Kit provides everything except a 5-gallon bucket for students to create their own aeroponic garden.
Maple Curriculum Support: Tapping into Maple Tradition - Lessons for K-12 Classrooms.

Looking for field trips? Check out Get Real Get Maine's Food, Farms, and Forest Search

ReTreeUS plants orchards in schools and provides educational programs that empower people to be healthy environmental stewards.

See the Maine Farm to School Census here. Are you participating?

Maine School Garden Network provides resources and technical assistance for all school gardens across Maine!

Search the National Ag in the Classroom Curriculum Matrix for resources

Fuel Up to Play 60 offers educators a wide array of resources they can use to help students make sustainable changes in their school environment.

Agroworld is an agricultural science e-zine developed for the secondary educator.

KidsGardening has ideas about plants and gardens, teacher resources, and grant opportunities.

The Chop Chop magazine and website has easy and healthy recipes.

American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture has curriculum, games, and resources available for educators and students.
Funding from this plate has impacted up to 200,000 students annually with lessons, materials, volunteers and teacher training. Annually up to $60K is distributed in grants to schools, FFA, 4-H and other Non-profit programs for Ag education initiatives by the Maine Agriculture in the Classroom Council.
Donate today to The Maine Agriculture in the Classroom Association
The Non-profit, completely volunteer, portion of MAITC. These funds are used directly to support teacher scholarships and recognition, and support volunteer participation for Ag education programs. Your donation is completely tax deductible and you can make a one-time donation or a recurring monthly donation which will support the mission, "to promote the understanding of agriculture and natural resources among students, educators, and the general public." If you have any other questions or would like to join this group please contact the chairman, Maryjane StaffordDonate Here.
Our Mission Statement
"To promote the understanding of agriculture and natural resources among students, educators, and the general public"  
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