Did you celebrate National Agriculture Day? Each year agents and volunteers in Cooperative Extension offices across the nation visit schools to read and lead a class in a simple agriculture-related activity to recognize this event.
National Agriculture Day origins
The Agricultural Council of America, “composed of leaders in the agriculture, food and fiber communities dedicated to increasing the public awareness of agriculture’s vital role in our society,” [https://www.agday.org/] sponsors this national activity which began in 1973.
On March 20th, several Buncombe County Extension Master GardenerSM volunteers (EMGV) visited interested Buncombe County elementary schools to celebrate National Agriculture Day. The visits taught students about the importance of agriculture in Buncombe County. The students—even kindergartners—talked about the crops grown here on their family farms.
Along with reading a book and sharing our enthusiasm, we led the students in a hands-on seed activity. The boys and girls made seed necklaces to learn that seeds need water, air, and warmth to germinate and grow. They put radish seeds into tiny, clear-plastic zip bags attached to a yarn string, added a spritz of water to a cotton ball, and puffed up the bags to provide the seeds with air. The students were to wear the necklaces to provide warmth until the seeds germinated.
The EMGVs and the students all enjoyed celebrating agriculture! Thanks to Holly Jordan, Buncombe County Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development, for giving us this opportunity.
Other youth activities
Buncombe County EMGVs reach out to youth from tots to teens throughout the year. Volunteers lead after-school garden-related activities, provide garden-related lessons in classrooms, assist student garden clubs, and other events.
Schools can apply for a Buncombe County EMGV School Garden Grant in February of each year. To see what the children have to say about their school gardens, read our recent blog post, School Gardens, School Kids.
During the summer, EMGVs assist with 4-H mini-gardens, teach gardening at day camps and community recreation programs, and respond to other community needs. Each year, we encourage youth to enter their gardening successes in the Youth Flower and Garden Exhibit at the Mountain State Fair. The deadline for registration is August 24, 2018, but you can plan and plant your entry NOW! For more information, go to http://www.wncagcenter.org/p/mountainstatefair/competitions/335.
Next year, you, too, can celebrate National Agriculture Day. But why wait? Every day is a good day to celebrate agriculture!
Article written by Carol Brown, Extension Master GardenerSM Volunteer.