March 19th-23rd Is National Agriculture Literacy Week

March 20th, 2012 by Craig Mullins

National Agriculture Literacy Week is important on more than one level; it helps to raise awareness about the value of agriculture in our daily lives, and it encourages both children and adults to read – which is always a good thing.

For the purpose of this week, agricultural literacy includes understanding agriculture’s history as well as its environmental, social, and economic importance; including food and fiber production, the processing process, and domestic and international marketing.

Increased knowledge of these subjects leads to informed decision making, which in turn results in better personal choices surrounding your diet and health.

We lead by example, so let’s start our children down the right path as early as we can! And what better way to prepare our children for healthy living than through something we all love – books!

In an effort to get the ball rolling, the United States Department of Agriculture offers The Junior Master Gardener Literature in the Garden curriculum, which encourages children in grades 3-5 to learn about the benefits of agriculture through garden and ecology themed children’s books (like Brother Eagle, Sister Sky; Miss Rumphius; Plantzilla; The Gardener; Tops & Bottoms; and Weslandia), as well as dozens of hands-on activities that promote open exploration and creative expression.

The Junior Master Gardener Literature in the Garden curriculum incorporates the academic subjects of English/Language Arts, Science, Life/Biological Sciences, Agri-science, and Botany to teach about the agricultural areas of:

Environment/Natural Resources
Conservation
Ecology
Environment Education
Natural Resource Management
Nature Study
Soils/Agronomy
Wildlife
Food Systems/Nutrition
Food
Plant Systems
Horticultural Crops
Flowers
Fruits
Vegetables
Health & Nutrition
Gardening/Greenhouse
Plant Growth & Development

Here are some great National Agriculture Literacy Week book ideas for kids of all ages, found on Amazon.com:

John Deere: Touch and Feel: Tractor (Touch & Feel) by DK Publishing – Ages 1+

DK brings John Deere’s reputation for quality to this book series, along with eye-popping photos of their signature green and yellow tractors. Young readers learn about tractors, farming, as well as the world around them with incredible photographs, simple text, and a little help from Johnny Tractor.

Preschoolers can touch “chunky” tractor tires, “spiky” grass, “bumpy” seeds, and much more. Each spread features a different texture and clear instruction that encourages young children to explore, and use their eyes and hands to recognize and name objects.

A Seed Grows : My First Look at a Plant’s Life Cycle (My First Look at Nature) by Pamela Hickman – Ages 3+

The My First Look at series provides young children with an introduction to the world around them. In A Seed Grows, follow the growth of a plant, from a peek inside a sprouting seed to the harvest of the fruit. The book suggests ways parents and children can explore nature — without disturbing it.

Jobs on a Farm (World of Farming) by Nancy Dickmann – Ages 4+

It takes a lot of hard work to run a farm. In this title, readers will learn what jobs farmers do every day to keep machinery operating smoothly, animals fed, and crops harvested.

Food From Farms (World of Farming) by Nancy Dickmann – Ages 4+

There are many different kinds of farms, and some farms produce only vegetables while others produce just fruit, and still others produce types of meat or poultry. Find out about the different kinds of foods that are raised on farms around the world in this introduction to the world of farming.

The Little Duck by Judy Dunn – Ages 5+

Full-color photographs. Humorous factual account of a year in a duck’s life.

Seed, Soil, Sun by Chris Peterson – Ages 5+

In this clearly written and beautifully photographed book, Peterson describes the seemingly miraculous process by which air and water combine with seed, soil, and sun to create nearly all the food we eat. Using the corn plant as an example, she takes the reader through the story of germination and growth of a tiny corn seed into a giant plant reaching high into the air with roots extending over six feet into the ground. The book also discusses the make-up of soil and the amazing creatures who live there – from microscopic one-celled bacteria to moles, amoebas, and earthworms. Once again, Cris Peterson brings both wonder and clarity to the subject of agriculture, celebrating the cycle of growth, harvest, and renewal.

Milk: From Cow to Carton (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Book) by Aliki – Ages 5+

Aliki takes readers on a guided tour that begins with grazing cows, proceeds through milking and a trip to the dairy, and ends with some different foods made from milk. This revised edition of Aliki’s 1974 Green Grass and White Milk is an even more fun-filled and informative explanation of milk’s trip from green grass, to cow, to a cool glass on the table.

Farming by Gail Gibbons – Ages 5+

An introduction, in simple text and illustrations, to farming and the work done on a farm throughout the seasons.

Century Farm: One Hundred Years on a Family Farm by Cris Peterson – Ages 7+

A century is along time – one hundred years. That’s how old the Peterson farm is. What was once boggy, stump-strewn land is now a thriving dairy farm, worked on and cultivated by five generations of the Peterson family in Wisconsin.

Writing in the voice of her husband, Gary, author Cris Peterson offers glimpses of life on the farm they have worked together for more than twenty-five years. Her eloquent text is accompanied by wonderful pictures from old family albums as well as dramatic full-color photographs from recent years. Photographer Alvis Upitis captures the simple beauty of a corn stalk bending in the sun and the power of a forage chopper pulled behind a tractor. This talented author-photographer team has created a unique portrait of life over the past hundred years on an American family farm – as it prepares to begin a new century.

Happy National Agriculture Literacy Week! How are you celebrating?

National Agriculture Literacy Week

Leave a Reply