February 1, 2011.
The Northeast Agricultural Education Foundation, Inc. (NAEF) awarded three grants January 31, 2011 to non profit organizations in Pennsylvania and Vermont. Adding up to over $17,000, the projects will build youth skills in leadership and agricultural literacy; support Ag in the Classroom training for elementary teachers; and encourage hands-on training for teens in food production and processing.
$8,000 is awarded to help defray costs for students attending the 2011 ACES (“Agriculture Cooperation Establishes Success”) Conference which is available to over 8,000 FFA members across the Commonwealth. In 2010, over 1,100 students and their teachers attended the professional development conference which emphasizes leadership skills and agricultural literacy.
$7,000 is awarded for the sponsorship of ten teachers to attend the ninth annual Ag in the Classroom (AITC) week-long teacher training program to be conducted at Pennsylvania State University’s main campus 7/17-22. Approximately 60 teachers will graduate from the program in 2011. Hands-on sessions and tours will focus on the integration of agricultural concepts into existing curricula such as Science & Technology; Environment & Ecology; Math; Reading, Writing, Speaking & Listening; Economics; Family and Consumer Sciences; History & Careers.
$2,500 is awarded for the implementation of the “Chick to Plate” pilot project, which will provide teens with a valuable education about food production and processing, encouraging further study and/or careers in agriculture. For 20 years, the University of Vermont Extension 4-H Program has offered an embryology project to 2,000 youth annually through school classrooms, daycares and homeschools. During the 21 days it takes an egg to hatch, students monitor, analyze, discuss and report on egg development. Once the chicks hatch, most classrooms donate the birds to local farmers and the programs ends. With this new project, teens from local high schools and Career and Technical Education programs will raise the chicks to fully grown meat birds ready for market. Through the process, youth will learn how food is produced and processed, and will gain first-hand experience in animal husbandry, food systems and business.
In existence for 45 years, NAEF’s primary goal is to support education and leadership training organizations dedicated to serving the interests of farmers and rural communities in the Northeast. The Foundation anticipates extending 25 – 30 grants annually, ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 per grant. In the past five years, NAEF has awarded nearly $500,000 to non profit organizations in six states including: New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Vermont, Maryland, Maine and Massachusetts.