Clements: The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture is inviting classrooms to participate in a national pea growing contest. Celebrating a Foundation book of the year, First Peas to the Table, the contest challenges kindergarten through fifth-grade classrooms to grow the greatest amount of peas using no more than 20 seeds. Foundation assistant director Julia Recko says the contest will give students a firsthand look at the decisions farmers make every day.
Recko: They will ask themselves, what kind of soil should we use? How much water, light, fertilizer, do we need? What kind of methods will we use to protect our plants from pests? If it gets too cold, and our plants are outside, how can we protect them from frost? These are all real-life problems that farmers face, and growing their own peas, students will really get a hands-on experience in solving these problems.
Clements: The winning classroom will receive a visit from Miss America 2017, Savvy Shields. Recko says programs like this are critical learning tools for children.
Recko: Programs like First Peas and even our Purple Plow Maker Space Challenge are really important for student learning. They allow students to solve a real-life problem and come up with real-life solutions, not just something on a worksheet. These experiences stay with a student and help them better understand the world around them.
Clements: Recko says Farm Bureau offers many more educational resources.
Recko: We encourage all classrooms participating in the contest to reach out to their local county Farm Bureau to see if they have any other educational resources, or maybe to see if they can get a real farmer to visit their classroom. And of course, the Foundation offers many more ag literacy resources on our website, and we also encourage folks to check out their own state Ag in the Classroom websites as well.
Clements: Find contest rules and more educational tools online at www.agfoundation.org. Micheal Clements, Washington.
Communications Assistant, AFBF