From the category archives:

Programs- Ag Literacy

Summer 2017 Professional Development (SAI 1 and 2)

Ag in the Classroom Summer Internship

We are now accepting applications for our 2017 Agriculture in the Classroom summer internship.  This position works extensively with children and adults throughout our summer programming.  If you are majoring in agriculture and have a passion for sharing your ag knowledge with others, consider this opportunity by visiting our website at:  Position is located in Countryside, IL from late May through early August.  

Free 4th Grade School Classroom Visits Begin

Call today to schedule your Agriculture in the Classroom one hour program.  Our professional presenter visits each 4th grade classroom at your school to teach students the farm to table concept including how food and fuel is produced, processed and distributed.  The program connects to all classroom concepts, especially science and social studies and fits into Common Core and NGSS standards.  Students will have thoughtful discussion, hands-on activities and follow-up materials to bring home.  The free program is available to Cook County schools and consists of two offerings for 4th grade and one middle school science-based presentation.  Email or call 708-354-3276 to schedule a visit between September and May. The mission of the Ag Literacy program is to expand students' awareness and appreciation for the importance of agriculture everywhere.  The Cook County Farm Bureau Ag in the Classroom Program visited over 300 schools in 2016 and taught to over 25,000 stude ...

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CCFB hosts Ag Day

More than 400 third grade students visited Chicago High School for Agriculture Sciences Thursday, 3/26/15  to experience Illinois agriculture in celebration of National Agriculture Day. Ag Day honors those farmers who are sustaining future generations by feeding, fueling, and clothing the world.  This annual Ag Day event is sponsored by the Cook County Farm Bureau® Foundation.Participating schools include Wadsworth STEM, Mount Greenwood and Sherwood School (all in Chicago) and St. Cletus School (LaGrange), Walker School (Bedford Park), Graves and Walsh Schools (Summit).    Students learned about some of the top Illinois agriculture commodities and spent two hours rotating through stations focusing on bees, soil, corn, soybeans, horticulture, dairy/beef, pork, embryology and how farmers care for their animals at the “live animal” station. &n ...

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Ag Lit Bit - The Artic

What comes to mind when you hear “The Artic”?  Perhaps it is the weather Chicago endured this winter.  Or you may think of Boston and the wicked Artic blasts and snow they experienced this year.  Or you may think of Polar Bears (they live in areas where they can hunt seals including Alaska, Canada, Russia, Greenland, and Norway).   What might not come to mind is apple.  The Artic Apple.  If you aren’t already familiar with it, you will be soon.  The Artic Apple, which will be available in Granny Smith and Golden Delicious varieties, are genetically engineered in a way to suppress the production of an enzyme that causes browning when cells in the apple are injured during packing, shipping or even from slicing. Controversial? Yes, indeed.  Some consumers are thrilled with the thought of their children not tossing away apple slices because they’re brown and unappealing, while others are incensed with the thought of a genetically engineered appl ...

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Cook County Ag Literacy Program Awarded Grant

The Cook County Farm Bureau's Ag in the Classroom Program was named a recipient of the White-Reinhardt Mini Grant for it's new Part 2, There's Ag on My Plate" free 4th grade in-school presentation.  The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture has awarded 23 $500 mini-grants to communities across the nation. The grants are awarded through the Foundation’s White-Reinhardt Fund for Education program. The grants are allocated through county and state Farm Bureaus and are used to create new agricultural literacy projects or expand on existing agricultural literacy efforts. Criteria for selecting winners included: the effectiveness of demonstrating a strong connection between agriculture and education; how successfully the project enhances learner engagement in today’s food, fiber and fuel systems; and the processes and timelines for accomplishing project goals. “Teaching young rural and urban students about the importance of agriculture and the vital role it plays in our everyday liv ...

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Ag Lit Bit: Crops and Candy

As Valentine’s Day arrives this month, take some time to thank a farmer.  Yes, farmers contribute to the romance of the holiday in many ways you can’t imagine.  No I don’t mean farmers such as Chris Soules, the single farmer featured in the current season of The Bachelor. I mean farmers who grow the ingredients for the candy we share every Valentine’s Day. Two weeks ago I was invited to join my presenter, Linda Dunn, as she toured the Ferrara Candy Factory near Chicago.  Mrs. Dunn had bid on the tour at a silent auction for Cystic Fibrosis and invited several local children (Grades pre-K through 7th) and their parents, along with me.  I don’t think an hour has ever raced by so fast. We walked up flights of stairs to witness the starting of the candy recipe and then traveled down floor by floor to understand where the pipes filled with corn syrup, led to the vats for cooking, which led to the molds made of cornstarch, which dropped the candy off the assembly ...

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School Garden Grant

In order to develop student awareness of agriculture through school gardening, we are pleased to offer a School Garden Grant Program. Teachers who would like to promote curriculum development through school gardening are encouraged to visit our website to access the grant information and application.We will be awarding up to five $300 grants to Cook County elementary, middle or high schools.  Applications are due February 1st, 2015 via email to or by mail to Diane Merrion, AITC Coordinator, CCFB, 6438 Joliet Road, Countryside, IL  60525.

Ag Lit Bit

As I prepared to begin the New Year at work and home, it was time to flip the calendars to 2015.  Call me a creature of habit, but I still need paper calendars to function.  I have joined the ranks of those who actually use their cell phone calendars, however, I feel a sense of comfort actually seeing the upcoming events in my own handwriting.  Even though I know if I lose my phone, it’s backed up on the computer and if my computer implodes, it’s back up on the cloud (whatever ‘the cloud’ is) and so on.  In flipping my Illinois Ag in the Classroom wall calendar to January I saw a beautiful picture of horses, the theme of this month.  The calendar is a wonderful tool for teachers of all grades to hang in their classrooms to generate discussion about agriculture.  In looking at January facts we learn such things as: A yearling is a horse that is one year old, the average life span of a horse is 20-25 years, a filly is the name for a young female horse, there ...

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Ag Lit Bit

Shark Tank is a favorite program of mine as I have an invention in mind that I know would make me millions of dollars (or at least thousands).  I love watching the marketing pitch these entrepreneurs give to the “sharks” and enjoy guessing whether they will be given a chance or not.  Some great success stories from the show include Ava the Elephant (medicine dropper), Citi Kitty (cat toilet training kit), Chord Buddy (learn to play guitar chords) and Copa di Vino (single serving glasses of wine).  While these may have an impact on our lives at some point, the show got me to thinking about inventions that have impacted our Ag in the Classroom presentation. For years we have been showing students a demonstration on the properties of hydrosorb, which amazes all who witness it.  On a whim I decided to call the USDA and see if I could talk with someone about its invention and learn more about the uses of this product.  After leaving a message about my question, I was quite ce ...

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