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Stray Kernels

Stray Kernels – Embracing the Gap

Soon after Breanna Holbert, the 2017-2018 National FFA President, gave her retiring address at the National FFA Convention in October, the video link was posted online. And then it was shared, widely. Upon seeing the link over and over again in my social media feed, I thought, “Wow. This must ...read more

Stray Kernels – Revisiting Our Objectives

I had a stickler of an elementary education professor in college. The most memorable feature I can recall from her courses (aside from failing a case-study assignment—it’s a long story) is how strict she was about our lesson plans. I remember hating having to write them because she insisted on ...read more

Stray Kernels – Fear of the Unknown

When I was 5 or 6 years old, I was afraid of sirens. So much so that hearing one made me tremble and worry. I’m not sure why, but my guess is that I learned from TV that sirens always meant something very bad had happened. So when I heard a ...read more

Stray Kernels – Belief bias, declinism and groupthink, oh my!

I was planning for an educator workshop titled, “Thinking Critically about Food, Farming, and Sustainability.” I had a vague notion we could explore how our food choices connect to what happens on farms, and how to critically evaluate sources of information about food. The workshop date grew near and it was ...read more

Stray Kernels – Trashed

It was a shiny, silver, late-model luxury car. I was following it east on the edge of Sycamore, a respectable distance back. Suddenly, an object appeared out of the driver’s side window and shattered on the pavement ahead of me. I swerved to avoid glittering shards of heavy glass.   I was ...read more

Stray Kernels – Pieces of the Puzzle

I’m a little bit of a geek, I guess. I’m planning this year’s Summer Ag Institute for teachers, and I’m ridiculously excited about it. This is the most fun and rewarding thing I do all year. I do a lot of fun and rewarding things in my job, so that’s ...read more

Stray Kernels – Drinking the Kool-Aid

“You’re drinking the Kool-Aid.” You’ve heard this phrase. It came into use after the massacre almost 40 years ago in Guyana, when followers of cult leader Jim Jones drank poison mixed with Kool-Aid or Flavor Aid drink mix. Over 900 people died. Said lightly, “drinking the Kool-Aid” implies someone has embraced ...read more

Stray Kernels – What makes us stronger

Drinking tea and discussing life with a friend recently, I started to say, “I’ve been at Farm Bureau almost 20 years.” Perhaps misreading where I was going with that thought, she interjected, “Are you ready for something new?” Startled, I paused. “Actually… no!” I went on, talking about things that continue ...read more

Stray Kernels – A Midwestern Love Letter

It was December, and we were in Florida. I mused in the cheerful sunshine while my daughter and husband giggled and dug their hands into the warm sand nearby. My brother-in-law said, “Why don’t you move here?” He seemed startled when I said that while I thoroughly enjoy visiting Florida, I ...read more