Ag Literacy teaches children where their food comes from.
As much as we hate to say it, summer is quickly
coming to a close. School is back in session which
means bedtime routines return, daily schedules reappear, and summer days become memories.
As much as we adults say that summer went way too fast, children don’t feel the same. I recently was babysitting and I asked the kids, “How was your summer?” They instantly replied with “It was the best summer ever” and then proceeded to list off all the things that they got to do and all the new things they learned. That’s how I felt about my summer here at Farm Bureau working with the Ag Literacy program. I have done so much and learned even more.
Jillian Diehl, Farm Bureau’s summer intern, helped a Malta Library summer reading participant thresh his wheat stalk to find the wheat kernels.
This summer has provided so many opportunities to work with children teaching them about agriculture. After working with teachers touring farms and exploring agricultural resources during Summer Ag Institute, I created a lesson to teach children how agriculture impacts their lives.
We conducted library presentations with the summer reading programs at the Malta Township Public Library and Flewellin Memorial Library in Shabbona. Building off of this year’s national summer reading theme, “Reading Takes You Everywhere,” our presentation was themed, “Reading Takes You Where Your Food is Grown.” We read the book “All in Just One Cookie” and made cookie dough while talking about where each ingredient in a chocolate chip cookie comes from. The kids identified the ingredients and placed stickers on a map showing their origins. We showed them how to make their own butter from whipping cream and mill their own flour from wheat kernels that they threshed from their own wheat stalks. Each student left with new knowledge, a summer memory, and a chocolate chip cookie!
Going along with the theme of sweet treats, the Ag Literacy staff made plastic bag ice cream with the Sycamore School District’s Extended School Year program. We taught approximately 75 students and teachers about dairy farming and where milk comes from. Then students worked in small groups to make their own ice cream. Students were amazed that after about 10 minutes of shaking, their liquid ingredients had frozen into ice cream! Then this delicious treat was shared by all!
It has been a great second summer as the Ag Literacy intern at the Farm Bureau! I look forward to putting the knowledge I learned here to use. We can’t stop time, so be sure to count your summer with memories, not days. And remember education never takes a day off, even during summer so be sure to let your inner kid explore and learn with everything you do!
Diehl was a summer intern at Farm Bureau. She returns to the University of Wisconsin-Platteville as a junior majoring in Agricultural Education and minoring in Biology. Jillian plans to become a high school ag teacher.