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.
Humbly, Jozi Best
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