WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – April 16, 2018– The Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation (IALF) recently awarded five local projects across Iowa funding to help develop an understanding of agriculture with students and adults.

The Agriculture Literacy Challenge Grants encourage organizations to teach agriculture to those who aren’t familiar with it. The intent is to increase agricultural awareness and knowledge among all ages. The five winning applications are:

  1. Trees for Threes organized by the Cedar Soil and Water Conservation District in Tipton, Iowa. Trees for Threes will deliver bare root stock trees and care instruction to every 3rd grader in Cedar County during the week of Arbor Day (April 23-27). Delivery will include tree care supplies (damp paper towels, baggies, zip ties), education materials (info packets on tree care), "The Tree Farmer" book, and presentation supplies (bucket, dirt, shovel, water).
  2. Dream Big Dreams - Footsteps of Carver Day Camp organized by ISU Extension and Outreach Madison County in Winterset, Iowa. Famous agricultural scientist and humanitarian George Washington Carver once lived in Winterset, Iowa. The Footsteps of Carver collection of activities is designed to help today’s youth, aged 9-12, connect to Carver’s inspiring story through experiential/expeditionary learning and reading biographies at a 5-day camp.
  3. aROUND the farm in the BARN organized by Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce Agriculture Committee in Le Mars, Iowa. An exhibit showcasing different types of historical barns will be featured in the iconic landmark round barn during the duration of the Plymouth County Fair held the last week of July.
  4. Libraries Rock and Agriculture Rocks and Rolls! organized by Marshall County Farm Bureau in Marshalltown, Iowa. Partnering with seven community libraries in the county, Marshall County Farm Bureau will present one or two sessions for the Summer Reading Programs, themed: Libraries Rock.  Each Library will select one to two selections from the program menu, which includes agriculture topics of careers, cattle production, hog production, harvest, soil and planting, conservation, dairy and vegetables.   
  5. Cultivate Training Garden organized by The Bridge of Storm Lake in Storm Lake, Iowa. Focusing on immigrant and refugee families, the project will work with individuals to be trained by master gardener and agriculture curriculums in the training garden. Purchased food combined with harvested vegetables will provide for the project participant to increase knowledge of and connection to the agriculture industry.

All Iowans are involved in agriculture by eating food and wearing clothes. Nearly 1 in 5 jobs in Iowa is in the agriculture industry. Yet most Iowans have no direct connection to agriculture production or the agriculture industry. Grants were awarded in amounts up to $1,000 to help teach agriculture to the public.

“We will have "agriculture conversations," related to a few topics each day including:

the Iowa soil, what plants need to grow, parts of plants, seeds, nitrogen, corn, soybeans, and peanuts, hybrid corn, cotton, vegetables, fruits, byproducts, soil conservation techniques, water quality, prairie, Jesse Hiatt's Delicious apple, fiber such as cotton and wool, etc.,” said grant recipient Casey Wenstrand from ISU Extension and Outreach Madison County. “We will create an "Expo" at the end of the camp which will include performances and a display of our art, journals, photos, etc. to celebrate and share our learning with our families and helpers.”

“[We hope to] Increase awareness of agriculture in our communities with both a youth and adult audience,” said Angie Nelson from Marshall County Farm Bureau. “[We hope to] enhance our relationship with community libraries, residents and the local service clubs in each community.”

Grants can be used to fund innovative lessons, activities, classroom resources, guest speakers, outreach programs, fieldtrips, and other projects. Organizations that have agriculture education as a part of their mission or purpose were eligible to apply.   

“We will focus on [educating about] agriculture careers and bridging the gap between producer and consumer,” said Dennis Morrice of Le Mars Area Chamber. For more information on grants and other IALF programs visit www.iowaagliteracy.org. 

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About the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation
IALF serves as a central resource for educators and volunteers who want to teach Iowa’s students about agriculture. The mission is to educate Iowans, with a focus on youth, regarding the breadth and global significance of agriculture. Iowa is a leading producer of agricultural products that are essential to feed a growing world population, estimated to reach more than 9 billion by 2050. IALF believes it is important for all Iowans to understand the essential role agriculture has in their lives. IALF will support existing agriculture education efforts such as FFA, 4-H and Ag in the Classroom. IALF was created through a joint effort of agricultural stakeholders, including the Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Soybean Association, Silos and Smokestacks Foundation, DuPont Pioneer, GROWMARK, and the Iowa Beef Industry Council. For more information visit IALF online at IowaAgLiteracy.org, on Facebook, and Twitter.

Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation

Will Fett, Executive Director
Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation