This past summer, I had the incredible opportunity to be the Agriculture in the Classroom intern at Illinois Corn. Throughout this internship, I had the chance to create a lesson and travel all over Illinois to teach that lesson to K-12 teachers. I got the chance to talk to people who never knew these amazing things about the corn industry and show them how easy it really was to incorporate these agricultural lessons into their own classrooms.
For me, being surrounded by agriculture growing up was a defining part of my life. I truly believe that knowing where your food comes from and the practices used to produce it is a privilege that many children are deprived of. You see, people are so scared of the agriculture industry simply because they are not educated. The unknown creates a fear in society. Modern media takes advantage of that fear at every chance they get. They try to replace the unknown with false information that, in turn, makes the fear worse.
These unknowns about the agriculture industry are not things that are being hidden, they simply aren’t being taught to those who do not seek the information. The percentage of Americans who are farmers is dwindling more and more each year. In fact, the average American is three generations removed from the farm. Being so far removed from an agricultural background, most Americans simply aren’t aware of the fact that agriculture is something that they should be learning about.
For this reason, I feel the need to support the efforts of both Illinois and National Ag in the Classroom. These organizations provide lesson plans and materials to teachers of all levels in K-12 schooling. These resources are free for teachers and they help them to integrate agricultural lessons into their Common Core Curriculum.
As a member of Sigma Alpha, a professional sorority for women pursuing careers in agriculture, I am able to work closely with Illinois Ag in the Classroom as our philanthropy. Each year, the Beta Xi chapter at Illinois State University hosts a Basket Auction. At the event, we auction off themed baskets full of fun merchandise that has been donated by local businesses. Last year, we raised a record amount of $4,400 that was donated in full to Illinois Ag in the Classroom.
Being able to present the check to representatives from Illinois Ag in the Classroom was a very fulfilling feeling. The people who work for AITC are selfless people who are full of love for the agriculture industry. They were beyond grateful to accept the check and were able to share some of their lesson plans with our group.
This year, our auction will be held on Saturday, March 25, 2017, at the Asmark Institute Agricenter in Bloomington, IL. Follow the link below to see the Facebook Event and to find information to RSVP!