New York Agriculture in the Classroom
The Empire Educator
A newsletter for New York's educators interested and committed to teaching through agriculture
Agriculture Literacy Week, March 17-21 2014
Who Grew My Soup?

Written by: Tom Darbyshire, Illustrated by C.F. Payne

Agricultural Literacy Week is a week when volunteers from across the state aid in bringing agriculture into classrooms through reading an agriculturally accurate book to over 45,000 students. This year's Ag Literacy week is March 17-21, 2014 with the selected book Who Grew my Soup? This is a delightful story is about a young boy who goes on a journey to meet the farmers who grew the vegetables in his soup. Accompanied lesson plans and activities will increase student awareness of nutrition and build the knowledge that nutrition starts on the farm. Visit the NYAITC website to learn more about the book, register your classroom, or volunteer to read.
Local Food Webinars
Tune into the discussion about local food purchasing for school districts. Each second and fourth Thursday of the month starting in January and running through July, USDA Farm to School will be airing webinars for those interested in learning more. More information about how and when to register will be posted soon from Farm to School.
Farm To Cafeteria Conference Scholarships
The 7th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference will be a gathering of people from across the country who are interested in promoting agricultural literacy and use of local food sources in their cafeterias. Scholarships are available for those people interested in attending the conference to be held April 15-18, 2014 in Austin, Texas. Scholarship applications are due by January 31. Learn more about the conference, registration,  and scholarships here.
North Country Junior Iron Chef Competition
The North Country Junior Iron Chef competition allows Middle and High school students the opportunity to develop healthy recipes with the potential for use in school cafeterias using local foods.  Teams of three to five students can register for this exciting hands on experience.  Registration is already open.  The competition will be held March 8, 2014 at Potsdam Central A.A. Kingston Middle School. Learn more or register here.
Educator Resources
Ideas and Inspiration
Edible Plant Parts
 Geared toward second and third graders, this lesson plan provides an opportunity for students and teachers to examine plant parts through hands-on activities. It also offers the chance to learn about where and how food is produced, and helps to reinforce the importance of having healthy foods in
                                        the diet.
Soil Erosion Lesson Plan
Host 'A Day at the Races' in your classroom as your students learn about soil erosion and the importance of soil to plants in this fun lesson. Access this lesson plan to bring some fun to your learning and to get your students thinking about soil conservation.
White House Student Film Festival
  Students in grades K-12 are invited to submit short one-to-three minute videos for the White House Student Film Festival. The topic is: high-lighting the importance of technology in the classroom and imagining how it will change their educational experience in the future.  Finalist videos will be screened at the White House. Find more information about the contest, rules, and submission here. Submissions are due January 29, 2014.
Recycling Fun in Your School
Register for the 3rd Annual Great American Can Roundup School Challenge! Participation in the challenge raises money for your school through aluminum can collection while also helping the environment by recycling cans. Also, $1,000 is awarded to the school in each state with the most cans per student collected.  Visit the Roundup website to learn more, register your school, or access posters and other helpful resources for holding a successful can roundup in your community.  
DuPont Essay Challenge
 This science essay competition encourages students to explore science, technology, engineering, and math through writing.   Students can choose from one of four approaches-feeding the world, securing our energy future, protecting the environment, or being innovative. For tips and more information visit the DuPont Challenge site. Submissions are due January 31, 2014.
Written by Barbara Wallace; Illustrated by John Sanford
Celebrate National Fiber Focus month by reading about this sheep named Argyle. Argyle discovers colorful flowers that cause his wool to turn magnificent colors for a short time and make his wool famous. Find out more information about the book here.
The Farmer in All of Us
Inspired by Paul Harvey
This book follows the themes of Paul Harvey's 'So God made a Farmer' and captures the lives and work of farmers on camera. This is an excellent compilation of heartwarming and inspiring photos. Proceeds go to benefit the Future Farmers of America organization. The book is currently available for preorder and will become available in the spring of 2014.
Web Resources
Keep Gardening in your Common Core Classroom
Keep your students engaged and excited by doing activities and lessons that don't sacrifice alignment with Common Core standards.  Visit the Life Lab site to access garden-based lesson plans and other resources developed to meet Common Core standards in order to utilize gardening as an exploration device and living laboratory for students.  
Real Scientist Videos
   Visit the PBS Kids website to get the inside scoop on real scientists of all kinds. Kids can explore careers ranging from volcano scientists to NASCAR engineers to cheetah conservationists. This site has videos that share insight into the lives and work of scientists that students will be excited to learn about! 
Upcoming Events
New York State Agricultural Society Forum
January 9, 2014
  • NYS Ag. Society's annual forum, this year titled 'The Next Generation of Agriculturists: Millennials' Perspectives on their Future in Agriculture'
  • Syracuse, NY 
  • Learn more here
Farm to School Webinars
January through July 2014
  • Tune in to these webinars about bringing local foods to school districts
  • Webinars held at 2 p.m. every second and fourth Thursday of the month by USDA Farm to School
White House Student Film Festival
  • K-12 students can submit a short video about the future of technology in classrooms. Finalist videos will be screened at the White House. Find out more here
  • Submissions due by January 29, 2014 
Farm To Cafeteria Scholarship
DuPont Essay Challenge
  • Science essay competition through DuPont
  • Submissions due January 31, 2014
North Country Iron Chef Competition
March 8, 2014

  • Middle and High school competition for students to create a healthy recipe and compete against other teams
  • Registration currently open
  • Learn more and register here 
Ag Literacy Week
March 17-21, 2014
  • Second grade students across New York state learn about agriculture in their classrooms
  • Volunteer to read or register your classroom today on our website

Featured News
 Ag Literacy Week
Local Food Webinars
White House Student Film Festival
Farm to Cafeteria Conference Scholarships
DuPont Essay Challenge
North Country Junior Iron Chef Competition
This Month in Ag


National Soup Month


National Fiber Focus Month

Join Our Mailing List
Stay Connected

Facebook   Twitter    Pinterest

Did You Know?
One pound of wool can yield over nine hundred yards of yarn--that's over three football fields in length!  

NY Agriculture in the Classroom | 607-255-9253 | |
29A Plant Science
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853