September 2012
Issue: 2
Kids feeding calves     
In This Issue
Teacher Feature
Traveling Ag Tour
Fantastic Resources
Natioinal Conference in MN
Ag Literacy Grants
MN State Fair
Free Lessons
Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom 
Celebrate the fall season with agriculture!

Classrooms across the state are once again filled with students.  Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom challenges teachers and agricultural professionals to also fill these classrooms with opportunities to understand the importance of agriculture and an appreciation for the food, fuel, clothing and shelter that this industry provides.  It's the perfect time of year to use harvest festivals, apple orchards and pumpkin patches to peak interest and create a personal connection with agriculture. 

Teacher Feature


Featured Teacher  - Mr. John Demuth

2nd grade teacher at Adams Elementary School, Fergus Falls


Why did you choose to become an educator?

Working with primary-aged kids has always been something I've enjoyed doing. It was a natural career choice for me. Second graders have a way of keeping you young at heart like no other grade level.

How has agriculture and the Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom Program and resources impacted your students and instruction?

 AgMag Jr. is a great jumping-off point for discussing agriculture in my classroom. We also use many of the online items to augment lessons that are being taught in my room. The bean book is a wonderful example of a download that provided a hands-on, developmentally appropriate and motivating way to learn about the parts of a seed. The resources provided on the MDA's site are top notch!

What advice do you have for other teachers on implementing agriculture into their classroom?

Teach agriculture in a cross curricular and "hands-on" way! An advantage to working as a second grade teacher is that you teach all core curricular areas. Teaching these subjects has allowed me to teach agriculture in science, reading, math, writing, art, nutrition and history.

Why do you believe it is important for our students to be agriculturally literate and aware in today's society?

Teaching students to be agriculturally literate brings their learning to life!  Helping students understand the farm to table connection and the contributions of farmers in their community is important in our consumer-driven society.

Mr. Demuth's Awesome Garden Project!

Amy Beske (8th grade science) and I run a school garden. We have 25 2nd graders and 10 8th grade mentors working in the garden over the summer. The project starts in February and March when we learn about seed anatomy and plant needs by planting seedlings in our classrooms. Amy's kids plant vegetables, and mine plant flowers. By the time we transplant them in the garden our rooms look like miniature greenhouses! During the summer months we meet twice a week to tend our garden. In addition to the weeding, watering, and harvesting we play yard games, read, and take a tour of Bluebird Gardens CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). In the fall the new group of 8th graders finishes harvesting the vegetables, and some of the fresh produce is used in our high school's salad bar.

john d garden
Mr. John Demuth working with his 2nd grade and Ms. Beske's 8th grade students in their garden.


MAGE and MAITC Bus Tour

The Minnesota Alliance for Geographic Education(MAGE) joined forces with Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom (MAITC) to offer a traveling tour of Southeastern Minnesota for thirty Geography teachers in July.  These teachers toured Syngenta Seed in Stanton, Wolf Creek Dairy near Dundas, Hormel Institute and Spam Museum, Pajolo Alpaca Farm in Austin, Vavra Farms and Central Valley Cooperative in Blooming Prairie, and Bushel Boy Tomatoes in Owatonna.  All participants are returning to their classrooms eager to share their new appreciation and prospective on agriculture with their students.

jay johnson of Bushel Boy
Jay Johnson, founder and owner of Bushel Boy, explains their growing and marketing process.


Fantastic Resources   

Minnesota Agriculture Magazines - AgMag and AgMag Jr.

Use Minnesota agriculture feature stories, fun facts, maps and more as a context for learning science, social studies, language arts, math and health and nutrition.  The AgMag has three issues per year and is designed for 4-6th grade students. Look for new content featuring the 10 plants that changed Minnesota this year! AgMag Jr. is designed for 1st grade students and has two issues per year.   Available FREE on the MN Agriculture in the Classroom website.


Website - My American Farm
Log on to this site for agriculturally themed games, videos, teacher resources and family activities.  Students can learn concepts in math, science, social studies and language arts as they play any of the twelve interactive games.

Instructional Unit - Growing a Nation

This resources uses instructional design and innovative technology to bring depth and meaning to historical events.  The program and lesson plans merge seamlessly with existing American history textbooks and high school history curricula.  Available online.


Children's Literature - Harvest Year by Cris Peterson

ISBN 1-56397-571-8

Take youngsters through the calendar year by reading this book designed for 3-6th graders. Photographs and simple text show crops growing and being harvested, as well as children enjoying foods of all shapes, sizes, and colors.  Included in the MN Ag in the Classroom Book Bundle.
Minnesota Delegation attends National Conference   

16 Minnesotans joined over 400 agricultural enthusiasts at the 2012 Agriculture in the Classroom National Conference in Loveland, Colorado.  Highlights included Natasha Mortenson from Morris, MN being named one of the five national winners in Excellence in Teaching About Agriculture, fantastic workshops and tours, and inviting all participants to attend the 2013 conference in MN!   


Natasha Mortenson wins national award.
Natasha Mortenson, joined by MAITC Director Al Withers, accepts her award.


Graff's turf farm
A tour stop included Graff's Turf Farm where Target Field's sod was grown.

Agriculture in the Classroom National Conference comes to Minnesota! 

Ag in the Classroom conference logo  

June 25-28, 2013

Marriott City Center

Minneapolis, MN

This national gathering is an exciting event for K-12 educators in all subject areas. Engaging workshops, tours and social events will provide awesome opportunities for educators to increase their comfort level in agricultural topics and also integrate agricultural content into their curriculum.

The conference will feature Andrew Zimmern, host of the Travel Channel's show Bizarre Foods, as the keynote speaker.


Workshop and Learning Lab Presenters Wanted!

The 2013 Agriculture in the Classroom Natioinal Conference Planning Committee is soliciting for workshop and learning lab presenters.  The committee is looking for proposals with rigor and quality and that fit the changing face of today's agriculture and education.  More information can be found at 2013 National Ag in the Classroom Conference website. 

students in classroom   
Apply for a Grant

Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom sponsors an agricultural literacy grant program.  Cash awards (maximum of $400) are offered to encourage educators to bring agriculture and food systems education to life by integrating agriculture content into their classroom or school.  Grant applications are accepted twice a year - October 1st and February 15th.  More information can be found at the MN Ag in the Classroom website.
students in classroom   
  Minnesota State Fair
10,000 State Fair goers used "Ag Literacy on a Stick" hand fans, courtesy of MN Ag in the Classroom, to keep cool while learning about Minnesota agriculture.
Ag literacy fan 
Ready to Use Lessons!
Check out these fun fall lessons featuring Minnesota agriculture products - apples and pumpkins.
Additional standards-based, hands-on lessons can be found on the Minnesota Ag in the Classroom website under Educational Resources.
Upcoming Events

September 8, 2012 
Farmamerica Fall Fair
Waseca, MN
October 2, 2012
Southwest Minnesota Reading Council Meeting
Windom, MN
October 13, 2012
Macalester College
October 18-19
Education MN Conference
St. Paul, MN
The first two individuals to respond with the correct answer will Win a MN Grown
T-shirt.soil profile  
In April 2012 Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signed a bill that designated an official state soil.  What is the name of this soil?
Send answers to
fall landscape  

MAITC in the News

The Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom Program was featured in the Sept-Oct 2012 issue of the Minnesota School Board Association Journal.  Click to read the article titled "Farming Agriculture Lessons Across a School Curriculum."


If you know someone who would like to receive this FREE newsletter please Sign-up Now!

Sue Knott                                                Al Withers
MAITC Education Specialist                      MAITC Program Director
[email protected]                            [email protected]
651-201-6486                                           651-201-6886