Florida Ag in the Classroom grows National Winner

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – July 10, 2003 – A sign of the seeds Florida Agriculture in the Classroom (FAITC) is sowing throughout Florida schools was made clear when the U.S. Department of Agriculture bestowed its highest award for teachers on a Volusia County educator.

Janet Gray, a 13-year teaching veteran, received the USDA’s 2003 National Excellence in Teaching About Agriculture award for the southern region. The award was presented at the National Agriculture in the Classroom conference in Nashville in June.

Gov. Jeb Bush and Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Charles Bronson will present Gray with a Cabinet Resolution proclaiming her excellence in teaching about agriculture on Aug. 26.

Using curriculum and concepts provided by FAITC, Gray says she incorporates Florida’s Sunshine State Standards within each of her “minds-on, hands-on” activities, ensuring that her students achieve the highest of academic standards.

Gray and more than 5,800 teachers across Florida are using FAITC materials to increase test scores while creating awareness about Florida’s agricultural industries and their positive impact on the state.

Since 1998, more than 365,000 students have been planted with the seeds of knowledge about Florida agriculture through the FAITC program and its teachers and volunteers.

Grants to teachers and volunteers have also helped grow knowledge in the state’s children. In four years, FAITC has funded $213,971 in grants to teachers and volunteers who help to water the seeds FAITC materials have successfully planted.

FAITC, established in 1986, is a non-profit organization that operates solely on the proceeds from the Florida Agricultural License Plate or “Ag Tag.” 

“Without teachers like Janet helping to instill the value of Florida agriculture to our state, active industry leaders and citizens showing their support through the purchase of an Agricultural License Plate, FAITC would not be the success it is today,” said FAITC Educational Program Coordinator Sarah Joe Cannon.

FAITC provides curriculum units to teachers in Florida through in-service workshop opportunities held at both the state and local levels.  The mission of FAITC is to help teachers and students develop a better understanding of our multi-faceted agricultural system and its relationship to our economy, environment, health and quality of life.  For more information about FAITC, visit


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