Contact

Stray Kernels

Stray Kernels – Pondering Plastic

I once stood on the shore of a Philippine island and gaped with dismay at hundreds of plastic bags washed ashore and bobbing gently in the waves. I remember that as I ponder the movement to ban single-use plastics. Grocery bags. Water bottles. Straws. If you pay attention for even a ...read more

Stray Kernels – Hidden Objective

The graduate course syllabus for the Summer Ag Institute includes the following phrases within its Student Learning Objectives: “Recognize the importance of agriculture in our society…” “Collect relevant materials…” “Develop lesson opportunities…” “…integrate agriscience into existing curriculum.” The full objectives are comprised of many more words (86, to be exact), written in what I think ...read more

Stray Kernels – The Things We Treasure

When you receive a greeting card or note from a friend or relative, what do you do with it? Are you the kind of person who reads it, thanks the giver for the sentiment, and then discretely places it in the recycling bin within a day or so? Or are ...read more

Stray Kernels – Responsibility: Opportunity or Burden

Earlier this year, my husband traveled out of state for several days for a family emergency. This complicated my already-shaky morning routine. We usually split the tasks of taking care of two dogs and making sure our kindergartner is ready for the school bus. So the first morning he was ...read more

Stray Kernels – Maybe We’ve Got It Too Good

When I was a teenager, my grandmother told me the story of how her brother got hurt on the farm as a boy. I don’t remember the details, but I know it wasn’t an injury that should have been life-threatening. I remember hearing the words “lockjaw” and “tetanus” and that he ...read more

Stray Kernels – Arm-twisting & Gratitude

January and February are intense months for me. Not gonna lie—sometimes my heart sinks when I think of all that needs to be accomplished during these months. Reaching 3,000+ elementary kids with meaningful Ag in the Classroom (AITC) experiences is a hefty project with many moving parts. Promoting the program to ...read more

Stray Kernels – The (hidden) growing season

I’ve been discouraged by the unrelenting dull chill of winter. In these dark months, it seems like day after sunless day is raw and barren. The trees are gray and stiff. Shriveled brown stems lie limply in pots and flowerbeds that danced with color a few months ago. Fields that were ...read more

Stray Kernels – The World Looks Different From Here

I was 18 and working a summer job at an agricultural research facility. Bouncing down a grass alleyway between test plots in a pickup with the field station’s assistant manager, I remarked that I hoped to marry a farmer. I can still hear Rick’s voice clearly in my mind. “You don’t ...read more

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