2011 Fall Agademics
In This Issue
Upcoming Events
Gardening for Grades School Mini Grant
Gardening for Grades
Teacher Grant Deadline
2011 National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference
Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Awards
2012 Florida Agriculture Literacy Day Set
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Florida Agriculture in the Classroom is funded by sales of the specialty agricultural license plate known as the Ag Tag. Add $35 to the standard license plate renewal fee. This amount includes a one-time $10 charge for your new metal plate. Subsequent annual renewals are an additional $25, $20 of which goes to Florida Ag in the Classroom. and $5 of which goes to the state for administrative fees. Purchase online today!
Board of Directors

Jennifer Whittaker Sills, Chair
Dairy Council of Florida

Ken Barton, Vice Chair
Florida Peanut Producers

Joan Kyle, Treasurer
Florida Fertilizer & Agrichemical Association

Carole McKenzie, Secretary  
Polk County Farm Bureau

Gary Albarell
USF Polytechnic Florida Industrial & Phosphate Research

Vina Jean Banks
Florida Beef Council

David Boozer
Florida Aquaculture Association

Lyn Cacella-DuBois
Farm Credit Association of Florida

Erica Der

Cheryl Fulford Flood
Kissimmee Island Cattle Co.

Shaun Fulford
Florida Farm Bureau Federation

Sue Harrell
Florida Strawberry Growers Association

Jennifer Nelis
Florida Nursery, Growers & Landscape Association

Katie Rainka
Florida Department of Education

Carol R. Roe
Wm. G. Roe & Sons, Inc.

Tamara Wood
Florida Citrus Mutual


Barbara Wunder
Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association

Lisa Gaskalla

 Executive Director


Holiday Griffin
Upcoming Events
September 1
Gardening for Grades School Garden Mini Grant Program Online

October 1
2011-12 Teacher Grant Deadline

December 10
2010 Volunteer Grant Progress Report Due

December 16
2012 Excellence in Teaching About Agriculture Award nominations due 

New Gardening for Grades School Garden Mini Grant Opportunity

Florida Agriculture in the Classroom, Inc is offering beginning Sept. 1, 2011 a new school garden mini grants program to complement its Gardening for Grades School Garden Resource Guide. Eligible applicants are certified general education teacher

GG Logo

s and agri-science teachers in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade who will use the $500 mini grant to fund new or existing schoolyard or classroom garden projects.



The school garden projects funded must grow only Florida fruits and vegetables, and must educate students about the importance of Florida agriculture. Florida Agriculture in the Classroom will distribute 222 $500 mini grants on a first come, first served basis until the grant funds are depleted, and will only approve one mini grant per school.


Only online applications will be accepted. To complete one beginning Sept. 1, 2011, please visit www.flagintheclassroom.com

Gardening for Grades Now Available!


When is the best time to plant tomatoes? Is fertilizer necessary? How does hydroponics gardening work? What commodities grow where in Florida? How can a school garden help teach core subjects? When should commodities be harvested?


To answer these questions, and in response to the growing popularity of school gardens, Florida Agriculture in the Classroom, Inc. has developed a comprehensive guide for Florida teachers called Gardening for Grades, which is now available.


There are a dozen lessons and activities in the book that show teachers how to use the garden to teach language arts, math, science and social studies concepts.


Florida Agriculture in the Classroom chairman Jennifer Sills said the book is a unique resource that is needed as more teachers plant school gardens.


"This book will give educators valuable information that will help them make the most of their school gardens," Sills said. "This book shows teachers that agriculture can be used to teach all subject areas."


Gardening for Grades will be offered free of charge to Florida teachers thanks to a special partnership with the Florida Department of Education's Coordinated School Health Partnership and Food & Nutrition Management Section. Florida teachers are invited to visit the organization's website at www.flagintheclassroom.com  to download or order a copy of the book.

Teacher Grant Deadline Approaching


TG Grant fall 2011
Students at Driftwood Middle School work in a school garden.

General education teachers in Florida who teach pre-kindergarten through 12th grade and want to use agricultural concepts to teach language arts, math, science and social studies are invited to apply for Florida Agriculture in the Classroom's 2011-12 Teacher Grants program. The deadline for applications is Oct. 1, 2011.

Eligible projects include gardening with hydroponics and classroom fisheries, among other projects, used to teach students about Florida agriculture. Please visit 
Florida Agriculture in the Classroom's website for an application, guidelines and descriptions of previously funded teacher grant projects.



Florida Hosts 2011 National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference in Fort Lauderdale

Nearly 400 teachers and agriculture educators from around the country shared stories, ideas, lessons and materials at the 2011 National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference "Discover Education's Hidden Treasure: Agriculture" held June 22-25 in Fort Lauderdale.


Conference goers came from nearly every state, giving teachers a well-rounded view of agriculture in America. Several attendees came as far away as Canada, Alaska and even American Samoa.


The national conference, an annual event that is hosted by a different "Agriculture in the Classroom" state each year, gave teachers a comprehensive look at agriculture and showed teachers how they can use agriculture to engage their students in almost every subject area, from math and science to language arts and nutrition.


NAITC 2011

In addition to workshops and traveling tours to local ranches, nurseries and packinghouses, there was an exhibit hall with displays from across the United States that showcased the many organizations that work together to help teachers bring agriculture into their classrooms. Teachers left the conference loaded down with stacks of lesson plans and materials to bring back to their classrooms.


A Fresh from Florida Grown Zone was stocked with fresh samples of Florida agriculture examples, including star fruit, avocados, orange juice and cheese. Two chefs helped prepare salads, guacamole, watermelon salsa and smoothies for conference goers to taste Florida agriculture. The Watermelon Queen was also on hand, passing out juicy slices of Florida watermelon.


Jack the pirate and his band of pirates brought a touch of debauchery and excitement throughout the week, with the pirates showing up at award ceremonies, meal functions and other events at the conference.


Several speakers, including Dennis T. Avery and Elizabeth Wolanyk, addressed misconceptions about food in America, while Paul "Cowbone" Buster spoke about Florida from a Native American viewpoint.


Perhaps the most touching moments of the conference came during the awards ceremonies that honored several dozen teachers for their outstanding dedication to bringing agriculture into their classrooms. Videos featuring the six national teacher winners and a national Ag Advocate volunteer winner brought both laughter and tears to the audience. Another video - Agriculture across America - showcased the top commodities in each state, along with agriculture facts about each state. The video was created for teachers to use as a teaching tool to show their students the importance and variety of agriculture in America. Lesson plans are being developed to go along with the video, which was used a fundraiser for the National Agriculture in the Classroom Consortium. The video is still available and can be ordered by contacting Holiday Griffin at 352-846-1391.    


Next year's national conference will be hosted by the Colorado Foundation for Agriculture and is set to be held June 19-22, 2012 in Loveland, Colorado

Nominations Being Accepted for Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Awards

Florida general education teachers who use agricultural concepts in their language arts, math, science and social studies classes are invited to nominate themselves or someone else for Florida Agriculture in the Classroom's 2012 Excellence in Teaching About Agriculture Award.


The deadline for nominations is Friday Dec. 16, 2011. One winner each is selected for elementary, middle school, agri-science middle school and high school. An overall winner is selected from the four and competes for the National Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Award. Winners receive an all expenses paid trips to the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference June 19-22, 2012 in Loveland, Colorado. Visit Florida Agriculture in the Classroom's website for a nomination form.

Florida Agriculture Literacy Day Set For May 1, 2012

Because Florida Comprehensive Assessment Tests are scheduled later this school year, Florida Agriculture Literacy Day will be scheduled later as well on Tuesday May 1, 2012.


Agriculture Literacy Day with Commissionaire Putnam


Adam Putnam reads to students on Agriculture Literacy Day.


Florida Agriculture in the Classroom, Inc.'s agriculture industry volunteers will be available on or after that day to read in elementary classrooms around the state a rhyming children's book about the nutritional benefits of Florida commodities. Teachers whose classes participate in the reading event will receive a free copy of the book and a lesson to go with it, among other giveaway items.


Teachers wishing to have an agriculture industry volunteer read in their classrooms should check the Florida Agriculture in the Classroom, Inc website in February to request a reader.
Florida Science Teachers

Check out a new U.S. Department of Agriculture Resource, Sci4Kids Website, to get great information, activities and resources to help you in the classroom! http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/kids/
Fall into Agriculture Activity

Elementary teachers: Are you looking for a fun way to start off the fall? Try making this adorable piggy bank from Farms, Food and Fun!  Piggy Bank


Piggy Bank



Science teachers: Would you like to show your students the strength of egg shells with this fun activity: Egg Strength