Florida Ag in the Classroom Calling on Agriculturalists to Help Increase Agricultural Literacy

GAINESVILLE - In an effort to increase agricultural literacy statewide, Florida Agriculture in the Classroom Inc. (FAITC) and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) are designating March 16, 2004 as Florida Agriculture Literacy Day.

Farmers, ranchers, members of local FFA chapters and agriculture industry representatives are being asked to visit elementary school classrooms around the state that day to read books about farming and talk about the importance of agriculture to the Sunshine State. National Agriculture Week is March 15-19.

“Ag Literacy Day is a great way for us to teach kids about where their food and fiber comes from,” said Scott Emerson, chairman of FAITC.

“Children today are several generations removed from the farm,” said Charles Bronson, commissioner of FDACS and a former agriculture teacher, “so we need to use events like Ag Literacy Day to help teach children that their food and fiber doesn’t come from the supermarket,”

FAITC will provide one of two books to volunteers: Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens, a book about a bear and a rabbit competing to grow vegetables that is aimed at kindergarten through second grade classes; and Farming by Ann Love and Jane Drake, a book about two farm kids who compare their vegetable and cattle ranch operations that is aimed at third through fifth grade classes.

Volunteers interested in reading to classes are asked to fill out an Ag Literacy Day form that will be made available by calling the FAITC office at (352) 846-1391 or visiting the FAITC web site at www.agtag.org FAITC will send a book and a classroom set of FAITC bookmarks to the volunteer once it receives a completed form.

However, volunteers are responsible for contacting schools to set up their classroom visits.

FAITC is a non-profit organization funded by sales of the Florida agricultural license plate, and charged with promoting agricultural education in schools around the state. FAITC provides free, in-service workshops for teachers to train them on how to use interdisciplinary resource materials that teach agricultural concepts and meet the Sunshine State Standards, among other activities.

The mission of FAITC is to help teachers and students develop a better understanding of Florida’s multi-faceted agricultural system and its relationship to the state’s economy, environment and quality of life.



Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
CHARLES H. BRONSON, Commissioner