Free sustainable farming resources available for high school teachers

Free lesson plans about sustainable agriculture are now available for high school teachers.

educationThe American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture created the lesson plans to help ninth through 12th-grade educators increase students’ knowledge about the social, economic, environmental and production components of sustainable farming and ranching in the 21st century.

At the end of each lesson, students have the opportunity to complete a corresponding online learning experience. The focus in each lesson is on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“This curriculum prompts the question of ‘How do we feed 9 billion people by 2050?’” commented Tammy Maxey, senior education manager for the Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom program. “Our youth are the ones who will be affected by this problem, and this collection of lessons entices them to think about and discuss how sustainable agriculture will help address this issue in the future.”

In the first lesson, titled “What is Sustainable Agriculture?”, students watch a video called The Future of Agriculture. The lesson explains that there are significant challenges facing both farmers and consumers—among them food waste, a growing population and a need to use fewer natural resources. As a result of those challenges, the agricultural industry is working toward a broad goal of sustainably producing food, fiber, fuel and shelter.

In another lesson, titled “Risk and Reward,” students will learn about business profitability and viability and its relation to economic sustainability. They also will discover how agriculture reflects other economic decisions, and how agriculture contributes to local, national and global economies.

A lesson called “The Necessity of Food” focuses on the social aspects of sustainable agriculture. Students will learn about the role that agriculture plays in society; will be asked to compare aspects of life for farmers, ranchers and farm workers with those in urban settings and occupations; will find out how sustainable agriculture enhances local communities; and will discuss aspects of food access such as food insecurity, poverty, language barriers and food deserts.

For copies of the full lesson plans, visit

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