NH Ag in the Classroom's Newsletter

January 2011

In This Issue
Meet Our New State Coordinator
Take a Virtual Tour!




Events Calendar

4-H Agriculture and
Food Systems Career Day
UNH January 22, 2011

from 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM


NH Farms and Forests:

Growth through Yankee Ingenuity

Friday, February 4   9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, February 5   9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Radisson Hotel

Elm Street  

Manchester, NH

There is something for everyone at the Expo! A winter standard since 1984, "New Hampshire's Greatest Winter Fair," offers commercial exhibits, educational sessions, student and exhibitor demonstrations, animals, an auction, and many activities for attendees of all ages!  


National Ag Week

March 14-20, 2011


Why Celebrate Ag Week?
Americans need to understand the value of agriculture in their daily lives.


NHAITC, along with the help of many friends, will be celebrating Ag week and Ag Literacy Day (March 15) by visiting schools across NH to read
In the Trees, Honeybees. 

Interested in participating?

Contact Ruth Smith,  

NHAITC State Coordinator  

at 603-224-1934 for more information. 


A great way to support NH Agriculture in the Classroom!


Need a gift for Valentine's Day?  

How about a box of delicious handmade fudge for your loved one? Should it be Belgian Chocolate? Or Strawberry Fields Forever (penuche infused with real strawberries and layered with white chocolate)? Or maybe A Little Bit O' Heaven (penuche with Bailey's Irish Cream and white chocolate)? Or perhaps a Special Valentines combo box with Chocolate Raspberry and Strawberry Fields Forever?  


Best yet, when you order fudge, 20% of what you spend will come right back to NHAITC to support our mission.  

You'll get free shipping in New England on 2 lbs or more & 4 lbs or more nationally.  


Orders placed by midnight on February 9 are guaranteed to arrive by Valentine's Day.  

 Happy New Year!


  How much more new can you get than 1/1/11? Well, we have our new State Coordinator to introduce. Ruth Smith wrote about herself (see next article), and we know you will join us in feeling very fortunate to have her. In our office now at the Farm Bureau office building from 9 to 4 or 5 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, Ruth's public Ag In The Classroom debut will be in our booth at The NH Farm and Forest Expo, the 4th and 5th of February. She will be overseeing the traditional FARMO learning game and a few hands-on activities there. A good variety of talks and commodity association meetings will be offered. That Friday is a popular outing for lots of school groups to rub shoulders with the Granite State farming community.  We would love to have teachers  come and help in  the booth; what better way could there be to get to know us?

    But we are getting a bit ahead of ourselves. I have always loved the contrasts of winter- bundling up to work and play out in the snow and cold, then coming in to hot cocoa while the soggy mittens and snowsuits dry out, so we can turn around and do it all again. We were extra lucky in having a place to ice skate during lunch hour at a Keene elementary school in the 50's, and emptied lunch boxes in short order to race outside. Bored was not in our vocabulary.

     Although many of us do have sheep lambing, cows calving, goats kidding, even alpacas criating, January can be a bit raw for farm visiting, but the joy of being part of birthing soon warms up any stable. Fortunately, nowadays when we do come indoors, it is a perfect time to enjoy virtual tours of farms and very literally widen our horizons while our toes are stay toasty.

    You may wonder why we would recommend looking at farms in other states. When better to see how things grow the same and how they develop differently, to see where the foods you eat and what you wear are produced. You can get a glimpse of what life is like for the 2% of this country's population who make it all happen. There are games to play such as www.myamericanfarm.org, built for educators, learners and their families.

    There are still no excuses to be bored

    This week it was brought home literally to me again how important is our NHAITC mission. My brother who used to also spend some "playing" hours on the ancestral farm could not believe that many young people today really do not know that eggs come from chickens, pizza cheese comes from milk from a cow, goat or sheep, ribs from a pig... I wonder what they really think about buffalo wings? Why does it matter for them to know? Beyond having a reverence for our earth and its stewards, we know that understanding is critical to the survival of production agriculture.

    Looking ahead into March, we hope you put the National Ag Week of the 14th on to your calendars, and invite and welcome volunteers to come into your classrooms to read this year's book for Ag Literacy Day on the 15th. ( or another more convenient day) The book is

In The Trees, Honey Bees.  We have the books for $12 along with teaching helps, and a list of beekeepers for references.

     We also encourage you to find one of last year's 75 copies of

Sugarbush Spring, sitting in many school libraries waiting to be used again for the up coming maple sugaring season. And we have additional resources for that sweet subject, too. Please contact us for whatever help you need, including finding readers from your local farming communities.

     The National Conference of Ag In The Classroom will be in June in Florida. Sadly, we could not comply with a request for a 2 minute visual clip about Farming in NH. When we asked our NH Dept of Ag, we were told there is no money. Does anyone know of any person or group who might do one for us? Teachers interested in going to this giant teacher workshop can contact us. We want to hear your suggestions for what you would like to see here, and when you would like to have us demonstrate how you can use our resources.

     After our breaks for Christmas and all the other wonderful holidays, no matter what your faith, it seems to me that we all would do well at follow the lead of the Wise Men who followed the light in their search for life's truths. Luckily for us , we can now travel anywhere without having to load up a camel and without worrying about the seasons nor weather. NHAITC aims to provide extra maps for the teachers and parents guiding the quests of our young future leaders. Please share our web site address with everyone you know, and let us know who needs to be on our email list to receive this newsletter directly.

                                    Jozi Best


Just click the button


DONATION CHECKS MAY BE MADE PAYABLE TO NHAITC and mailed to 295 Sheep Davis Rd., Concord, NH  03301- Thank you!

Welcome Our New State Coordinator--Ruth Smith

     As the new State Coordinator for New Hampshire Agriculture in the Classroom, I'd like to introduce myself and share a few thoughts about why I was interested in taking on this opportunity. 

     My interest in agriculture started in my youth when I helped my grandfather with his horses, Christmas tree farm and large vegetable garden.  The seeds that were planted then have been nurtured by a strong interest in local food and sustainable living.  I now live on a small homestead farm in Canterbury where we raise chickens, rabbits, fruit and vegetables for our family and friends. 

     It has been a natural progression for agriculture to become part of my professional life. As an environmental educator for over 25 years, I have taught children and adults about the importance of environmental stewardship.  Nurturing the land to produce our food, fiber and other necessities requires an understanding of natural systems and an appreciation of what it takes to raise healthy plants and animals which in turn support healthy people.  Food is one of the most basic ways to remind people of how integrally we are connected to the earth.

     During the majority of my career I have fostered an understanding of our relationship with the earth by teaching a variety of experiential programs.  I have conducted hundreds of workshops for educators at schools and local and regional conferences; brought live animals into classrooms through New Hampshire; directed an environmental day camp; coordinated special events; and developed school and youth garden programs.  In each of my jobs I have also enjoyed working with dedicated volunteers and networking with other professionals throughout the northeast.

     In 2006 I was honored to receive the Environmental Educator of the Year awards from both the New Hampshire and New England professional environmental educator organizations.  I currently serve on both of those boards and also represent local food and farming on the Capital Area Wellness Coalition.  In addition to my new role with NHAITC, I will continue to work with the Capital Area Farm and Community Connection, a project of the Merrimack County Conservation District.

     I am thrilled to bring my experience as an educator and my interest in local farms and stewardship to this position. I hope to launch some new initiatives; engage more participants; and make NHAITC a vital resource for educators in our state.  This effort will require a strong team and I look forward to working with veteran teachers, farmers and volunteers so that together we can increase the agricultural literacy of New Hampshire's children and make a difference in the lives of families and farms.  

                                                Ruth A. Smith

State Coordinator

NH Agriculture in the Classroom


During cold and snowy January try visiting a few farms through these virtual farm tours and interactive tools--lots of ways to bring agriculture into your classroom.

Discover why farming is part of your life even if you never lived on a farm, never watched crops grow in the field, or never touched a cow.

Visit a...

horse farm*

beef farm*

dairy farm*

poultry farm*


Learn about aquaculture*

The Story of Milk +
The Great Corn Adventure^

*Courtesy of Virginia 4-H/Virginia Coop. Ext.

+Courtesy of Moomilk.com

^Courtesy of University of Illinois Ext.