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$1,000 Agriculture Literacy Grant


“It’s really fun and it’s a really cool activity. It’s basically all about farming stuff,” said 8-year-old 2nd grader Adamari Lozada.

At Project Impact STEM Academy in Kuna these second graders are getting a little hands-on learning about agriculture.

“There’s even medical stuff too and it was all so much fun, especially the part that you got to take care of the animals like a real vet,” said Lozada.

“Cause maybe if you grow up to be a farmer and you do something like that you might need to learn about the animals and that before you actually can be able to be a farmer,” said 7-and-a-half-year-old Elias Wortman.

“Are there thing you learned about where your food comes from that you didn’t know before?”

“Yeah, like I didn’t know that sour cream comes from milk,” said 8-year-old 2nd grader Roslyn Roberts

Through the Ada County Farm Bureau, the school received a $1,000 grant for ag literacy projects from the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture.

“In Kuna it’s nice because they have a lot of agriculture land around them so they kind of see it without really knowing they see it, but as those lands get smaller and smaller, they’re seeing them as often,” said Amanda Harris Agricultural Sciences and Technology Teacher.

“So, it’s important for them to be able to understand how much work goes into it to appreciate the work that is happening, and also just so they know where their food comes from. They know how it’s processed and harvested and what it takes,” said Harris.

The grant money allows them to buy educational materials specific to ag literacy.

“The first, second and third has it once a week. They always… they want it every day. That’s often what we hear is – We can’t wait for Ag Tech! But all of it’s always hands on, so I think that part of it with those younger grades is just really important for them to be doing versus seeing,” said Harris.

“So, we had medicines, so vaccines. We talked about oral on topical. We had bandage wrapping, so wound wrapping, we had sutures, also stethoscopes so listening,” said Harris.

“What do you hear?” “My heart…”

“What do you hear?” “I hear my heart…”

“I was doing the vaccination station,” said Stephanie Phinney with AmeriCorp Idaho. “We decided that the best way to show children, our student hands on is that the syringes, without a needle, the curved one’s are the pointiest. We would draw from a cup of water into a sponge, and then they would be able to the make-believe vaccine into the sponge to simulate that they were giving a vaccination to a sheep. And we’re doing a sheep unit but incorporate that it’s to any animal, whether it’s a cat, dog, horse, etc.,” said Phinney.

“And then the other station set up were kind of free play stations just to kind of explore the agriculture activities that we have for them to explore,” said Harris. “They’re learning about how to take care of livestock, and how farmer take them and then we’re moving into the fiber part of our project next week. But we’ve been focusing on farm to table with the primary students. So, they’ve been following Felicia, it’s through the adopt a dairy cow program,” said Harris.

“Felicia is a cow that we’ve been learning about and that we adopted,” said Elias.

“She’s a heifer and she is also a Holstein cow,” said Roslyn.

“And we get to see her growth,” said Elis.

“You guys basically learn all about different kinds of agriculture and farming and animals, right?”

“Un-huh. Basically, like cows and lambs and horses,” said Adamari.

They also work at dispelling common myths like cows having four stomachs.

“We hand created kind of a marble run, if you will, but it had all four compartments of a ruminant stomach. So, they had to move a marble to all four to really understand that it’s four compartments, not four stomachs. So, kind of beating those myths down but also allowing them to learn firsthand all about how animals live and how we take care of them,” said Harris.

“Just to make connection, instead of just being at the grocery store with their parents, they see eggs come in a carton. They don’t understand that it actually comes from a chicken from a farm to the carton to the store,” said Phinney. “So really getting that at a young age so that by the time they get older they that appreciation and more respect and what it takes and it involves to get our food from farm to table,” said Phinney.

“Some units will be based on crops and commodities next year,” said Harris. “This year is fiber, so on the way is wool samples. They’ll able to actually spin it from the roving. We have bottle goats that’ll be on campus probably for our field day and possibly a hair sheep as we move through this fiber unit. We’ll have a wheat grinder to grind up wheat kernels. Hopefully as this program continues to grow they’ll be able to be ag accurate and just that knowledge of how the agriculture sciences play in with the rest of all the other sciences and technologies and engineering and math that we kind of specialize in at our school.

Every school should have ag for elementary. These elementary students, that foundational knowledge is really key to really growing out students up to be great citizens, that think about the whole picture,” said Harris.

For the Voice of Idaho Agriculture, I’m Paul Boehlke.