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WFBF Awards Matching Grants to Ag Literacy Projects
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 06/03/2014

The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation awarded 18 matching grants totaling over $8,000 to Wisconsin schools and organizations to use for agricultural literacy lessons and activities. The grants provide funding for a variety of activities that help students and the public learn about agriculture.

The 18 matching grant activities are:

** Building our Dairy Education - Langlade County Dairy Show Team - $500: Langlade County dairy project members are working together to educate different audiences about the role of the dairy industry in our state. With the use of an interactive electronic board, consumers will test their dairy knowledge at various events including dairy breakfast, state fair and kid's safety day.

** Victory Garden Kid and Family Club - Victory Garden Initiative - $ 500: The Kid and Family Club (KFC) is a collaboration between Victory Garden Initiative and community partners, including Fratney School CLC, Holton Youth and Family Center, and Friendship Progressive Baptist Church. VGI staff and volunteers engage with youth of all ages and their family members three afternoons per week after school. The program takes place at Concordia Gardens (Concordia and Palmer) in the Harambee neighborhood of Milwaukee, utilizing the community gardens and the small-scale farm as a living outdoor classroom.

** Corn in the Classroom First Grade Program - Brown County Dairy Promotions/Ag in the Classroom - $500: Corn in the classroom is an interactive first grade agriculture program in which students explore everything Corn! As a result of the program student will know more about the different types of farms and the products they make. The goal is to tie agriculture to each student's life, whether it's the fields they drive by, the agriculture byproducts they use, or the foods they eat. Students will connect with agriculture and gain a better understanding of the many different types of farms while having fun and gaining a stronger connection to agriculture by the way of corn field!

** Agricultural Literacy - Tri-County Elementary School - $500: The Tri-County Area School District will enhance the education of nearly 300 elementary students in many curricula areas by increasing exposure to agricultural related topics through non-fictional books. Students and staff will have access to several copies of books, in order for educators to promote literacy, build background knowledge, and improve students’ vocabulary through agricultural related literature circles. This matching grant will afford the Tri-County Area School District an opportunity to address the rigor of the Common Core State Standards, while promoting a major industry of the Central Sands area: agriculture.

** Living Library 2.0 - Roche-A-Cri Elementary School - $500: Roche-A-Cri students will create an interactive 2.0 Living Library, highlighting Wisconsin Agriculture. Student chosen Wisconsin Agricultural and Agribusiness books will motivate students to read about how agriculture is an important component of the community. This Living 2.0 Library will instill a sense of pride about the local farming community and an understanding of how everyone depends on Wisconsin agriculture. Imagine going to the library, hovering your IPad, Smartphone, or other device over a book cover, and the book comes alive before your eyes with an author speaking to you or viewing a student created video book commercial.

** 'Telling AGriculture's Story - Digitally' - School for Agricultural & Environmental Studies - $500: Lights! Camera! ACTION for agriculture! Everyone enjoys a good story and Wisconsin agriculture is full of many dynamic characters with rich stories to tell. Through a "Digital Storytelling" summer school offering hosted by the School for AGricultural & Environmental Studies (SAGES) – Waupun School District, students grades 1-6 will be given the opportunity to not only expand their English Language Arts writing, plus speaking and listening skills, but also increase their understanding of agriculture as they digitally capture and tell local agriculturalists’ stories. This action-packed class will put each learner in the role of a writer, producer, and movie editor.

** A Little Dirt Never Hurt! - Brodhead FFA Chapter - $500: A little dirt never hurt! That's just what students are going to find out when they dig into a 21 day summer school course offered by FFA members and advisor. From planting to picking, with a few taste test in-between, students in grades 1-6 will be amazed at how many different ways gardens affect their lives. Planting in the school garden, working in the FFA greenhouse, and taking time to cook in the kitchen are all part of the lesson plans where younger students will be paired with FFA members to experience gardening and all that goes along with it. Grade level appropriate math and reading skills will be the main academic focus of the summer school course, with gardening as the real life examples.

** Food for America - Hartford FFA Chapter - $470: The FFA chapter will be sponsoring a Food for America day with Windlake Elementary School in Milwaukee. The goal of the program is to help students, especially those far removed from the farm, to discover not only where their food comes from but how it makes its journey from the farm to their kitchen table. With the help of Level Acres Dairy and other local organizations, Windlake 3rd graders will take an up close and personal view of American agriculture.

** Teacher In-Service and Classroom Presentations - Ozaukee County Farm Bureau - $500: The Ozaukee County Ag Education committee will conduct a teacher in-service day on the farm for teachers who are interested in learning more about what Ag in the classroom has to offer and how they can utilize the soybean science kit. Following the in-service day the committee plans to visit classrooms and educate about the dairy and soybean industry. Classroom visits will be hands-on and will allow the students to taste dairy products and soybeans. The soybean presentation will also include a lip balm activity where students will get to take home lip balm made from soybean oil.

** Cows on the Concourse - Cows on the Concourse $500: Cows on the Concourse will be held on Saturday, June 7, 2014 in Madison from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. An annual event to kick-off June Dairy Month in Dane County, Cows on the Concourse is a "dairy good" time for the whole family. Located just off of downtown Madison's Capitol Square, this free event is fun for the whole family! Only Cows on the Concourse gives kids and adults the unique opportunity to get close to cows and baby calves, enjoy hot grilled cheese sandwiches, chug ice-cold milk and learn from Wisconsin dairy farmers.

** PALS Tech Program - Janesville FFA Alumni $500: A new mentoring program will be available to middle school age students through a collaborative partnership with Blackhawk Technical College and the Janesville FFA PALS program. The FFA PALS Tech program will be held at the Janesville Boys & Girls club and will target middle school students at the club. Three instructors from Blackhawk Technical College will rotate on a monthly basis presenting courses offered at the college and the careers available upon completion of those courses. FFA Members from Craig and Parker High Schools in Janesville will discuss the agriculture courses and the FFA activities that they have taken part in. The goal is to make the students aware of the FFA programs at Craig and Parker High schools and career courses available at Blackhawk Technical College.

** Barnyard Adventure Ag in the Classroom Tent - Walworth County Fair Barnyard Adventure - $500: The award winning Barnyard Adventure is proud to partner with Wisconsin Farm Bureau in presenting Ag in Classroom at the 165th Walworth County Fair, August 27-September 1. In its third year, Ag in the Classroom features unique agricultural learning and hands-on experiences with diverse topics; gardening, composting, beekeeping, crops and Walworth County 4-H projects. Fair Director Eileen Walsh Grzenia comments, "Featuring a program that welcomes fair guests to explore and experience where basic needs originate is high-priority. We are honored to have Wisconsin Farm Bureau's support and expertise in presenting Ag in the Classroom at the 2014 Walworth County Fair."

** Agriculture Awareness - Sauk County Ag in the Classroom - $450: The Sauk County Ag in Classroom programs visits 2nd grades classrooms in Sauk County during the school year to make students aware of Agriculture and the part it plays in their lives. There will be a display at the Sauk County Fair to show their work and see other activities, for students and adults to view.

** Ag Day at the Farm - Sigma Alpha at UW-Platteville $350: Sigma Alpha Sorority is a non-profit, professional sorority that promotes agriculture. The purpose of the program is to educate children in the local communities on the importance of agriculture to their community and their country, and to make them more aware of agriculture by presenting Ag Day at the Farm. Throughout Ag Day at the Farm, Sigma Alpha will be giving farm tours to area fourth graders, interacting with them by doing hands on activities, and by presenting material showing them the impact agriculture has on their community and the world.

** Severson Farm Day/Animal Displays - Cambridge Agriculture Department $300: Over 200 elementary students in grades 4K-2nd will visit a series of interactive learning stations focused on farm animals, plants and food products Severson Learning Center (SLC) in Cambridge. The goal of the SLC Farm Day is to give young children an opportunity to interact with agriculture. This event is student organized and a cooperative effort between the Cambridge Ag Department, Cambridge FFA Chapter, FFA Alumni, Food Pantry and other local Ag Industry volunteers.

** SAE Tours - Black Hawk FFA Chapter - $250: Supervised Agriculture Experience Tour of Excellence - includes an exciting tour of FFA members' SAE's in three area school districts. Following the end of the school year, 3 FFA chapters will load the bus to explore Agriculture in their respective districts, and how their FFA members are benefiting from their work experiences.

** Food for America /June Dairy Month Promotion - Omro FFA Chapter - $345: The Omro FFA promotes agriculture through classroom teaching along with hands-on experience at a local dairy farm. Providing knowledge to fourth grade students on where their food comes from and how eating healthy should be an everyday lifestyle, the high school students better future generations through agricultural awareness. But it doesn't stop there; FFA members gain community awareness through their June Dairy Month promotion which offers education to the entire community, young and old, through hands-on activities, informational packets, and animal interaction.

** Common Core Cooperation - Oconto Falls School District - $380: Washington Middle School has been actively incorporating reading units into the middle school agri-science program. Currently, the 7th grad agri-science is reading Heart of Shepherd by Rosanne Perry and 8th grade agri-science is going to be reading the classic The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. This project is a cooperative teaching unit with the reading instructors and funds will be used to purchase books and reading materials for students.

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