Farming advocates share stories with thousands of Virginia children
Farmers and friends of the agricultural community shared farming experiences by reading to thousands of students during the Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom program’s annual Agriculture Literacy Week, March 18-22.
“Right This Very Minute, by Lisl Detlefsen, the 2019 Virginia AITC book of the year, was popular among our readers and the children,” said Tammy Maxey, AITC senior education manager. “Kristal Harris, Pittsylvania County Farm Bureau volunteer reader, commented how the children were inquisitive, asking questions such as ‘How do you know the food is ready to be picked?’”
More than 1,500 volunteers read Right This Very Minute to 63,000 students in 500 schools. The book follows children as they discover what a farmer is doing “right this very minute” to provide healthy meals for their tables.
“Children had an opportunity to visit with a real farmer and ask questions about their day-to-day life on the farm,” Maxey explained. “The greatest value of the Agriculture Literacy Week program is to provide an avenue for agricultural advocates to share their story with children and open young minds to the possibilities and potential for the future of agriculture.”
Volunteer readers included Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring and Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Vice President Scott Sink, along with county Farm Bureau volunteers and VFBF state board members, and representatives of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, local FFA and 4-H chapters, Farm Credit, F&M Bank and numerous agritourism partners.
Many volunteer readers donated copies of Right This Very Minute to school and classroom libraries.
Virginia AITC is part of a nationwide effort to help teachers and students understand and appreciate agriculture, which is Virginia’s and the nation’s largest industry. The program provides an opportunity for children to connect to agriculture through volunteer-led activities, school grants, professional development and web resources at AgInTheClass.org.
The AITC program is funded by donations received through the Virginia Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom, a nonprofit that obtains financial and administrative support from Farm Bureau.