Food For Thought
Help Support NHAITC
September 5: New England Apple Day
September 25-26: Belknap County
School to Farm Days at Ramblin' Vewe Farm in Gilford
Resources from USDA
US Agriculture History Timeline
This is a PDF of a timeline that covers 1776-1999, so clearly leaves out Native Americans and is not very current. However, it has some interesting facts and information for the time that it covers.
National Agricultural Library
A vast array of information, historical and current, related to agriculture.
Information for Educators and Students
Includes: History of agriculture (global), US and state agricultural Facts, links for help with ag. related research projects, historical literature related to agriculture, and more.
Includes materials for kids on soil, poultry, meat, farmers' markets, 4-H, science projects, food safety, nutrition and more.
USDA for Kids
Includes information for parents, teachers and children; games, puzzles, resources, related to agriculture, food safety, forestry, soil science and more.
Garden Based Curriculum
Search by grade or topic for resources for teaching about growing and using plants.
Growing a Nation - The Story of American Agriculture
by Deb Robie
A new school year has begun and with it comes the opportunity to help educate your students and also yourselves as teachers about the diversity of New Hampshire's agriculture. In this issue I will highlight four different types of agricultural enterprises around the state. I do not mean to say that these farms are the only ones worth visiting. I only want to help you help your students to see how many different types of farms there are right here in New Hampshire. Even if the students can only visit a web site or become a pen pal with the farm they will all learn something.
Our first stop this fall is the Bo-Riggs Cattle Company found in Westmoreland. Their web site is www.bo-riggscattle.com. This is a Black Angus 3rd generation family farm. They are very school friendly and do have a Farm Pen Pal program.
How about visiting a buffalo farm? Found in Warner, the Yankee Farmer's Market is owned by Keira & Brian Farmer. Their web site is www.yankeefarmersmarket.com. Use their web site to help talk about health and nutrition, sustainability and diversity.
Local, fresh, wholesome, and family. All these words can be used to describe Winsome Farm Organics in Piermont. This family has been farming in one way or another for generations. Best of all I don't see that changing any time in the near future. Their web site is www.winsomefarmorganics.com. As with most farms in New Hampshire diversity is the word to describe this farm. They are very visitor friendly and educational and fun to visit.
What would fall be without a visit to an apple orchard? Consider Mack's Apples in Londonderry. Mack's claim to fame is that they are NH's oldest family-run apple farm. This farm was in operation BEFORE this country was an official country. Visit their web site at www.macksapples.com. You'll get history, economics, health and nutrition all in one stop.
Isn't New Hampshire agriculture delicious!!!
NH Ag in the Classroom
Ruth Smith, Statewide Coordinator
295 Sheep Davis Road
Concord, NH 03301
Deb Robie, Grafton County Coordinator
September is upon us again and we hope you all had a wonderful summer. As the new school year gets underway, we at NHAITC are looking forward to working with more of you to help you integrate agriculture into your curriculum.
If you teach 4th grade in Belknap County, and haven't yet registered for the School to Farm Days, see the Calendar listing to do so.
Ramblin' Vewe Farm - School to Farm Day, September 2011
One of the projects I have been working on over the summer is an updated curriculum packet on NH Agricultural History. We will be rolling these materials out at a staff development workshop on Thursday, October 11 at the NH Farm Museum. I am thrilled to be partnering with Kathleen Shea, the Director of the Farm Museum to present this workshop and share their wonderful facility with educators. The workshop is open to any educator, but the materials are targeted at 3-5th grade students. See the calendar section for more details about this program. If you won't be able to join us but are interested in borrowing the materials, please let me know.
Working with partners, such as the NH Farm Museum (www.farmmuseum.org) is a great way to highlight each of our strengths. The museum is home to historical buildings as well as an active working farm. They offer opportunities for visitors, from school children to the general public, to learn about the past and experience how it has influenced the future. We will blend our experience in teacher education with their educational center for an enriching opportunity you won't want to miss. If you are involved with or know about a like minded organization and would like to work with us in a similar fashion, feel free to contact me to explore opportunities.
Curriculum development, workshops, school programs, field trips all cost money. Some of the cost can be covered by participant fees, but we are rarely able to charge what it truly costs us to deliver quality products and programs. So, like all non-profit organizations we rely on various sources of funding. This year, one of those will be a silent auction of goods and services. The auction will be held at the NH Farm Bureau Annual Meeting in Portsmouth on November 2-3. (http://www.nhfarmbureau.org/). We are currently seeking donations for the auction. If you have a product or service that you specialize in and would like to donate to our cause, please contact Deb Robie at email@example.com or complete the donation form posted here. Of course we will also need folks to bid on the items so we hope you'll join us at the meeting for fun, education and an opportunity to connect with other supporters of NH agriculture.
Ruth Smith, Statewide Coordinator
NH Agriculture in the Classroom
President Lincoln -
An Agricultural Leader
On May 15, 1862, in the midst of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln signed legislation to create the United States Department of Agriculture, an agency that he would later call "the people's department." Throughout 2012, the 150th anniversary of USDA has been celebrated across the country as a way to inform the public about the history and current activities of USDA.
The United States Department of Agriculture is one of many branches of the federal government that most of us probably take for granted or don't think about very often. However, it's an agency that impacts the lives of all Americans every day. Its mission is to "provide leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science and efficient management."
To accomplish this mission, the department includes a wide array of agencies. Here is a partial list with a sampling of agency activities.
- Agricultural Research Service - conducts the research that provides nutritional information on food containers
- Food and Nutrition Service - implements the WIC and SNAP programs and school meals
- Food Safety and Inspection Service - in charge of all food safety related recalls
- Forest Service - maintains National Forests such as the White Mountains
- National Agricultural Statistics Service - administers the agriculture census
- National Institute of Food and Agriculture - helps fund agricultural education at Land-Grant University Systems, Cooperative Extension, and National Agriculture in the Classroom
- Natural Resources Conservation Service - works with Conservation Districts on soil and conservation projects
- Rural Development - helps with housing, renewable energy and other infrastructure projects in rural communities
For a quick reference guide to the USDA agencies and more complete information go to: http://www.usda.gov/documents/about-usda-quick-reference-guide.pdf
For a summary of accomplishments of the USDA go to: http://www.usda.gov/documents/usda-an-every-way-every-day-department.pdf
A Plant Especially for Kids
by Deb Robie
I think this plant was made especially for kids. It's certainly designed so that it will grow just right. Of course, all plants are designed so that they will grow just right, but this one is something special.
You can't see anything special about the seed. It's just a little grain, but all seeds are like that when you look at them closely. The very middle of the seed has a part that will grow into the plant and a part that will grow into roots. It's got lots of food inside the seed to feed the little shoots. Wrapped around the future shoots and the seed food is a hard, protective cover, to ensure that the seed won't be damaged before it is planted. The seed is designed and protected well, as are most seeds.
The plant that grows from the seed is also well-designed and well-protected. The root system is not very big, so the plant isn't always anchored well. Extra roots grow from the base of the plant above the ground. They help prop up the plant.
Most plants related to this one have hollow stems, but this plant's stems are filled with soft, spongy tissue. The tissue is rich in sugars and starches, so it makes good food for animals.
Joints or nodes separate sections of the stem. Because they're tough and hard, they strengthen the stem. Because the nodes are placed closer together near the bottom of the plant, that part is stronger. The top of the plant is more flexible and sways easily in the breeze. This plant hardly ever snaps apart in a strong wind.
Long leaves clasp the stem tightly and help strengthen it. The veins in the leaves run lengthwise, making it flexible. A strong central rib makes the leaf tough, and wavy edges prevent tearing. The leaf is well-designed. It won't break apart easily. It will remain on the plant to make food for the plant.
So far the plant is just a plant, designed to do its work. Yet when it's growing, there's one characteristic which might tell you that it's ideal for kids. Most plants in this family grow seven to ten feet high. Only full-grown people can pick the fruit, and they have to stretch. But this plant grows only four to six feet tall, so kids can pick the fruit if they stretch.