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New York State Dept of Agriculture & Markets Launches Agricultural Literacy Week

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball announced today the commencement of Agricultural Literacy Week in New York, with a full calendar of reading programmes planned throughout the week.

Shivam Dwivedi
Agricultural Literacy Week allows teachers to teach children about the importance of agriculture in their daily lives
Agricultural Literacy Week allows teachers to teach children about the importance of agriculture in their daily lives

Agricultural Literacy Week, now in its 18th year, is a statewide effort organized by New York Agriculture in the Classroom (NYAITC) to educate students about the importance of agriculture and job options in the industry.

Commissioner Ball will participate in Agricultural Literacy Week with State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa, reading to Boulevard Elementary School children in Gloversville on Wednesday, March 22 at 9:30 a.m. On Friday, March 24, Commissioner Ball will also pay a visit to Schoharie Elementary School at 9:00 a.m. Furthermore, more than a dozen Agriculture and Markets employees have volunteered to visit primary schools, libraries, and Agri-Business Child Development (ABCD) centres across the state to engage pupils in book readings and hands-on activities.

"Our children truly are the future," stated Commissioner Ball. “As agricultural leaders, it is our obligation to instill in our children an awareness & appreciation of how our food is grown and where it comes from. Agricultural Literacy Week allows us to teach New York children about the importance of agriculture in their daily lives, and perhaps even inspire them to pursue a career in agriculture. I am grateful to my fellow State Commissioners, our Department workers, and the many volunteers from across the State who are assisting in spreading the word about the importance of our business this week."

"When we are able to bring literature to life and educate children in topics relevant in their communities, it sets them up for a lifetime of learning and to be responsible and thoughtful civic stewards," said State Education Commissioner Rosa. New York State has a long agricultural heritage, and agriculture is an essential part of our economy. "Tomatoes for Neela" by Padma Lakshmi, this year's featured book for Agricultural Literacy Week, presents many excellent instances of how we may connect with other cultures and establish communities via food, farming, and education. "I am overjoyed to be able to share these essential skills with students during Agricultural Literacy Week."

"Agricultural Literacy Week is an exciting yearly celebration of agriculture in schools around the state," said Katie Carpenter, Director of New York Agriculture in the Classroom. NYAITC is committed to developing an agriculturally literate populace that is aware of local, national, and global food systems. When agriculture is used to teach or reinforce a basic academic subject, students become more interested in the lesson, and Agricultural Literacy Week is an excellent opportunity to introduce thousands of teachers and students to the joy of incorporating agriculture into their classrooms."

New York State offers one of the country's longest-running and largest Agricultural Literacy Week initiatives. Every year, thousands of volunteers visit elementary schools around the state to read an agricultural-themed book to students. Agricultural Literacy Week will be observed by over 80,000 schoolchildren across the state this year.

Students also benefit from an interactive session in which volunteers share their agricultural expertise. Teachers are given follow-up exercises to ensure that these essential educational opportunities continue throughout the school year. All subsequent lessons, activities, and additional resources adhere to the Common Core Learning Standards.

Agricultural Literacy Week is part of NYAITC's greater endeavour to educate students about food production and create awareness about employment options in this industry. NYAITC programmes assist students in understanding and communicating the origins and significance of agriculture in their daily lives. Governor Hochul announced a USD 50 million investment over five years to fund "scratch" cooking facilities that will ease the use of fresh New York State farm goods in meal preparation for K-12 school children, advancing the objective of NYAITC and comparable groups. The Presidential Budget for this year also contains USD 1 million to assist agricultural workforce development.

The Department will also look for internships & apprenticeships for young people and those looking for a second career in agriculture. It will also directly connect our workforce, including migrant labour and asylum seekers, with industrial prospects.

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