By Pam Dudding Contributing writer
The Craig County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee and FFA students fosters students’ understanding of farming during Agriculture Literacy Week with great zeal at McCleary Elementary School.
It has been stated, “As younger generations of Virginians grow up disconnected from the farm, connecting children to agriculture has never been more important.”
For the 12th year, Virginia AITC celebrated Agriculture Literacy Week March 14-18, and the Craig County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee read Tales of the Dairy Godmother: Chuck’s Ice Cream Wish by Viola Butler to the students of all levels at McCleary Elementary.
Mary Hunter, President of the FBWC, shared, “The story talks of where Chuck’s Dairy Godmother grants him the wish of having all the ice cream he wanted to eat, but taught him how much hard work the dairy farmer has to do before ice cream can be made.”
“Chuck found himself checking on the cows, feeding them, milking them, cleaning the floors of the milking parlor, and testing the milk to make sure it was stored at the right temperature, so it didn’t spoil,” Hunter continued. “After all the hard work, he finally got his ice cream and then realized in order to have more ice cream, all the hard work had to start all over again as a dairy farmer has to milk the cows at least twice a day, every day of the year.”
In addition to being read to, the FFA students worked with a group students to make butter by placing whipping cream, salt and a marble in a sealed container and shaking it until it turned into butter.
The students were then able to taste the butter they had just made.
“While all this shaking was going on, additional FFA students worked with another group to take vanilla ice cream cups, add flavoring, and make their own special flavor of ice cream to eat as they colored pictures,” Hunter added.
“The Virginia Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom’s core mission is to help students and educators gain a greater awareness and understanding of agriculture,” Hunter explained. “The organization achieves this through AITC-designed lessons and resources, newsletters, school grants, volunteer projects and initiatives such as Agriculture Literacy Week.”
Agriculture Literacy Week is Virginia AITC’s largest educational event, with approximately 2,000 volunteers reading to 60,000 children statewide. To date, more than 22,000 agriculture-related books have been placed in classrooms, and more than 15,000 volunteers have read to about half a million children.
“During Agriculture Literacy Week, volunteer readers from across the state help our youth learn about the sources of their food, make connections with local farms and agribusinesses and discover the importance of agriculture in their daily lives,” said Tammy Maxey, Program director for Virginia AITC. “This special week grows in popularity each year among classes and volunteers, and often features fun bonus activities like interacting with farm animals or making ice cream in class.”
These presentations provide a wonderful opportunity to increase interest among children of how food and other goods are produced, and to meet the men and women who ensure we are fed and clothed,” Maxey added.
The FB Women’s Committee enjoyed being a part of growing the knowledge of our kids in Craig while having a great time in learning.