Ag in the Classroom
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Ag in the Classroom is an exciting new program offered to Sampson County schools elementary aged children that continues to grow! Educating our youth on the importance of agriculture is critical, particularly with the tremendous contribution Sampson County provides to our local, national and worldwide food supply.
Being the leading sweet potato producing county of NC, harvesting over 5.4 million bushels, and the second largest pork producing county in NC and the nation, we chose to begin with sweet potato and pork production.
Ag in the Classroom began last November at Sunset Ave Elementary with two fourth grade classes, starting with an introduction to sweet potatoes. The program has grown throughout the spring to add fourteen more classes at four elementary schools, teaching about sweet potatoes at Union Intermediate, Clement & Plain View Elementary schools, and pork production at Midway Elementary. The program delivers learning materials for classrooms through reading material, visual aids, and virtual means, such as videos, curriculum, and virtual farm tours, as well as hands on activities, like growing sweet potatoes for classrooms to harvest in the fall!
The program has also provided Ag in the Classroom Books of the Month to each school library and all Sampson County Libraries. Books include a variety of topics, like learning about fruits and vegetables, beekeeping, growing hay, and livestock.
We especially would like to thank Sampson County United Way and Sampson County Farm Bureau for funding the program and providing volunteers to assist with program delivery, and our local farmers for providing sweetpotatoes, pictures and video footage. We’re also thankful for partnering with North Carolina Farm Bureau Ag in the Classroom, the NC SweetPotato Commission, NC Pork Council, and the NC Department of Agriculture Farm to School Program to provide materials and promotional items for this great learning experience.
Teachers interested in this project will be introduced to the NC Farm Bureau “Ag in the Classroom” curriculum, with an opportunity for future training and resource materials. In fact, we have teachers attending the National Ag in the Classroom Conference this summer! To learn more about the program and how you can be involved, contact Eileen Coite at the N.C. Cooperative Extension Center at 910-592-7161.