Feb Empire Educator maple

February 2013
Agricultural Literacy Week
Spring is right around the corner and so is Agricultural Literacy Week! It's time to make your final preparations for this upcoming Ag Literacy Week, March 18-22, 2013. Classrooms and volunteers are in the process of being registered. For more information on this year's books, to register your classroom, or to register as a literacy volunteer please visit the Ag Literacy Week webpage. 
I  NY Agriculture Contest
Do your students like to write or draw? Do you want your students to explore agriculture in their own lives? The I Love NY Agriculture Art and Writing Contest is the perfect opportunity for youth, Pre-K through 6th grade, to explore agriculture and food system while also meeting the New York State and Common Core Learning Standards. The contest is divided by grade level categories with prized ranging from t-shirts to $25 educational grants. For more information visit the I Love NY Agriculture Contest page on the NY Ag in the Classroom website.
2012 6th 1st 
6th Grade: Full Poster - People of New York Agriculture 1st Place
Kids Growing Food Grant Winners
Congratulations to the following schools for their achievement in being awarded a 2013 Kids Growing Food Mini Grant:

Delaware Academy Central
East Hill School
Gorham-Middlesex Central
Park Terrace Elementary

A Kids Growing Food II Continuation Mini Grant was awarded to:

Canton Central School

We look forward to sharing more about these inspiring projects connecting kids to agriculture and the food system through growing food at their schools. Thank you to everyone who submitted applications, we are continually amazed at all of the innovative garden projects at our schools across the state. 
  kgf greenhouse
Educator Resources
Ideas and Inspirations
USDA Farm to School Grants
The USDA has announced the release of their 2014 applications for their Farm to School Grants. These grants are to support eligible schools in improving the health and well-being of their students and connecting them to their local agricultural producers. Three categories of grants will be awarded: planning, implementation, and support service. Grant proposals are due April 24, 2013 and there are webinars on March 5-7th to assist applicants through the application proces. For more information on the grants visit the Farm to School Grant Program page of the USDA Farm to School website.
Garden Wagon Brings Agriculture to
Eastern Cherokee Indians
What do you do when you can't go to your extension agent? Well in North Carolina, your extension agent comes to you. To assist members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians who can't visit their local extension office, Kevin Welch, a Federally-Recognized Tribal Extension Program (FRTEP) Educator at North Carolina State University, created a garden wagon to bring community gardening information directly to the community. For more information, read the USDA blog article... 

From Maple Trees to Maple Syrup 
by Kristin Thoennes Keller 
from maple trees to maple syrup
Have you or your students noticed buckets on nearby trees? Enjoy pancakes covered in maple syrup? Always wanted to know how maple syrup is made? In From Maple Trees to Maple Syrup by Kristin Thoennes Keller, you can answer that question and more by exploring the process of maple production. Learn about the process behind one of New York's top agricultural products that even the youngest student enjoys. Great for students in grades 1-3.

A Weed is a Flower by Aliki 
What better way to incorporate agriculture and Black History Month into one lesson than learning about one of the most influential agricultural scientists. In A Weed Is A Flower by Aliki, beautiful illustrations propel students through the life of George Washington Carver, a man who built his life from almost nothing and changed the way Southern farmers planned and planted crops. A biographical tale that also touches on the agricultural topics of crop rotation and plant science. Titled after one of Dr. Carver's favorite sayings, "a weed is a flower growing in the wrong place,"  this book is an excellent introduction to the importance of agriculture in history while also teaching the importance of hard work and education.
Web Resources
my American Farm
My Miniature Greenhouse
Do you want to teach your students about plant growth but don't have a garden or greenhouse of your own? Why not have the students create their own? With this lesson from the My American Farm program, students can create "My Miniature Greenhouse" from everyday materials. Great for students in grade 3-5, supports national learning standards in science and technology, and is a great extension to the "Farmer's Market Challenge" online game in the My American Farm Program.

"STEER" Towards STEM: Careers in Animal Agriculture
beef careersIs your classroom filled with animal lovers? Have students who dream of becoming a veterinarian when they grow up? Then why not explore all the careers associated with animals in agriculture while also supporting and developing the critical thinking skills integral to STEM. This 5-lesson unit, "STEER Towards STEM" explores such careers as animal nutritionists, geneticists, and agricultural engineers through real-life challenges for students to investigate, inquiry-based labs, and planning and constructing models. Great for students in grades 3-5, and animal enthusiasts of all ages. 
Featured NYAITC News

Agricultural Literacy Week

I  NY Agriculture Contests

Kids Growing Food
This Month In Ag


National Cherry Month


National Black History Month


National FFA Week Feb. 16-23


National Read Me Week Feb. 25-March 1

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Did you know?...

New York state is the second largest producer of maple syrup in the US, following Vermont. In 2012, New York produced 360,000 gallons of maple syrup.

It takes over 40 gallons of pure maple tree sap to produce 1 gallon of pure maple syrup.


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Upcoming Events

Agricultural Literacy Week

I Love NY Agriculture Art and Writing Contest
USDA Farm to School Grants
  • April 24, 2013 - Applications due
  • March 5-7, 2013 - Webinars on application process
  • Three categories of grants offered: Planning, Implementation, and Support Service
  • For more information on the grants visit the Farm to School Grant Program page of the USDA Farm to School website.

Contact Information

New York Agriculture in the Classroom 
Katie Bigness, Coordinator 
Department of Horticulture 
Cornell University 

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