New York Agriculture in the Classroom

Empire Educator
A newsletter for New York's educators interested and committed to teaching through agriculture
September 2013

High Tunnel in Schools Grant, Applications due September 15

hightunnelConsidering expanding your school garden? NYAITC makes it easy through a partnership with Cornell University's Department of Horticulture. High Tunnel structures offer an extension of the normal growing season with no need for electricity or heating.  Funding is available to add a high tunnel to your school garden.  Schools that apply receive site consultation, a high tunnel structure, $1500 towards materials, and support through curriculum and university expertise.  
Grant applications and other information about the program can be found on our website.
Workshop Proposals for National Ag in the Classroom Conference, due October 1

The sharing of ideas, programs, and curriculum is one way to spread knowledge and innovations in teaching our students through agriculture. If you have a a great method or idea that you want to share with other teachers across the country, submit your proposal via the link below. There are 2 categories of proposals being accepted:

Chapter Sessions - 1 hour workshops to share new ideas in teaching about agriculture
Illustrator Sessions - Hands on activities educators will be able to take back to their classrooms  

For more information and applications, please visit the National AITC website.

Teacher of the Year Applications, due October 18  
Each year, NYAITC recognizes one teacher from New York State for their exceptional use and integration of agriculture in their classroom and curriculum.  The winning teacher will receive the opportunity to attend the National Agriculture in the Classroom conference in Hershey, PA.  Check out the eligibility requirements, rubric, and application.  Apply by Friday, October 18th.
Kids Growing Food Mini Grants available, due November 15  
The Kids Growing Food program was started with the intent to increase stkidsgrowingfoodudents' understanding and appreciation for nutrition, agriculture, and the environment. School gardens can be integrated into the class curriculum to create an authentic and exciting learning experience. NYAITC has mini grants available for  schools that apply who are looking to start, or continue, a school garden.  Support and materials are offered to those who are awarded Mini Grants. Applications are due November 15, 2013. 

Educator Resources
Ideas and Inspirations
Dig In!digin
Targeted towards 5th and 6th graders, this nutrition education program offered by the USDA includes lessons about growing, harvesting, and learning about fruits and vegetables. Schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program or other Nutrition program may request free printed materials. Request lessons, guides, and posters. Click to Dig In! 



Start a School Garden!

Starting a school garden can seem daunting, but you're not alone! Look to the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) blog for some simple steps to consider when getting started on your own school garden.

Apple Trees by Gail Saunders-Smith, PhD
A book for grades K-3 on apple production. Find more information here.  


A Field of Sunflowers by Neil Johnson
High-quality photographs depict the process of growing sunflowers from preparing the soil through seed production. The book explains phototropism, pollination, and pollinators accurately and would be an excellent resource for teachers explaining these concepts. Find more information about the book here.

Opportunities and Other Grants


Ag Day Poster Art Contest
The National Ag Day Poster Art Contest is designed to showcase the talents of young artists who share a passion for modern agriculture. A winning original piece of art will be chosen the Official National Ag Day poster. The contest is open to all amateur artists enrolled in high school or college. For more information, please visit the National Ag Day website.   

Fuel Up to Play 60 Grant
Funding opportunities are available to any K-12 school enrolled in Fuel Up to Play 60 (free online enrollment). Sponsored by the National Dairy Council and other partners, the competitive, nationwide funding program provides seed money - up to $4,000 - to take actions critical to achieving program outcomes. For more information, see their website.    

Upcoming Events

High Tunnels in Schools Grant Application Due
  • September 15, 2013
  • More information can be found on the NYAITC website.  

National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference Workshop Proposals Due

  • October 1, 2013
  • Additional information and proposals are available here.  

'Gardening in a Warmer World' Conference, Cornell University

  • October 4-5, 2013
  • Cornell researchers will offer tools and suggestions at this conference for gardening, with specific focus on dealing with climate change and weather.  
  • Registration is $75 and closes Friday, September 20th.  
  • Click here for more information about the conference. 
World Food Day
  • October 16, 2013
  • Host an event to celebrate food and engage your students to join the global movement to end hunger. Find more information about events and curriculum on their website.  
Teacher of the Year Applications Due 
  • October 18, 2013
  • Applications and additional information are available on NYAITC's website.   

Kids Growing Food Mini Grant Due

  • November 15, 2013
  • Grants are available for new and developing school gardens. Applications are available on NYAITC's website.  
Featured NYAITC News
High Tunnel Grants

Proposals for NYAITC
Teacher of the Year Applications
Kids Growing Food
 Mini Grants 
This Month In Ag
National Honey Month
National Mushroom Month
National Chicken Month
National Rice Month

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Contact Information

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


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