There’s no doubt that people today really want to understand where their food comes from, and the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture is filling plates with books, resources and experiences for learners of all ages. I’m going to take a minute here to brag about this team whose work is nationally recognized. And just as important, I want to thank you all for your support of the Foundation. It’s your support that waters the seeds, enabling us to grow and harvest our premier resources and award-winning books.
This week, “I LOVE Strawberries” – one of our new Feeding Minds Press titles – was recognized with Good Housekeeping’s Best Children’s Book awards. This is great news! If you haven’t purchased a copy, this book, written by Shannon Anderson and illustrated by Jaclyn Sinquett, makes a great holiday gift for your kids or grandkids. It’s not just a great story, with engaging illustrations; it also gets kids excited about growing food. Like other Feeding Minds Press books like “Chuck’s Ice Cream Wish” and “Right This Very Minute,” it shows young readers all the hard work it takes to grow the foods and treats they enjoy. And it doesn’t surprise me at all to share that it’s not the only Feeding Minds Press book to be recognized this year. “Barn at Night,” written by Michelle Houts and illustrated by Jen Betton, recently received a Silver Moonbeam Award in the children’s picture book category for the way this story celebrates curiosity and discovery.
Together, we are truly reaching beyond our fences and engaging with consumers to share the farming story.
These books are an exciting first step for kids to learn about farming, but we know there’s so much more for them to explore when it comes to understanding the science and innovation that drives farming. modern farming. One of the Foundation’s flagship programs for educators is On the Farm STEM, where urban and suburban teachers go to the farm to see first-hand the care farmers and ranchers take to grow safe and sustainable food. These teachers bring a new understanding of agriculture and the excitement of the farm into their classrooms to share what they have learned with their students.
Many of these teachers become agriculture advocates themselves, like On the Farm graduates Chidi Duru of Maryland who received a Fulbright scholarship and Christine Girtain who was just named the state’s teacher of the year. from New Jersey. Christine will take advantage of her podium as teacher of the year to share the importance of agricultural literacy. I look forward to hearing about future farmers and farmers who have been inspired by these teachers and others who are bringing the farm into the classroom thanks to the Foundation and our donors.
Together, we are truly reaching beyond our fences and engaging with consumers to share the farming story. And these examples do not even represent half of the work accomplished by the Foundation. From educator grants to interactive games like My American Farm to engaging educational activities like the Purple Plow Challenge, the Foundation is truly reaping a bountiful harvest from the seeds sown with your support. If you are unfamiliar with the work of the Foundation, I hope you will consult our website to learn more, visit the new Feeding Minds Press website to order books and preview what’s to come, and check out our easy-to-use online tool Ag Bed Catalog to help you leverage agricultural literacy efforts in your community. I think you will join me in bursting with pride for the work we do together. And I leave you with this challenge. If you are already a supporter, please renew your support as we look forward to a new year, and if you are new to the work of the Foundation, I invite you to join us today. Let’s continue to fill the plates with farm-fresh content that sparks curiosity and renews the trust the American people have in us to grow the food, fiber and fuel we all love.
Vincent “Zippy” Duvall, a poultry, livestock and hay producer from Greene County, Georgia, is the 12th president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.