Why teach agriculture?
Most of our children will not experience farm life as part of their upbringing. In fact, children are as far removed from the natural world and agriculture has they have ever been because for the first time in U.S. history, more families are living in cities than in rural areas. Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC) connects children to agriculture by helping educators and students understand the impact of agriculture on their daily lives, their health, society, the economy, and the environment. Our goal is to help students gain a greater awareness and understanding for agriculture and its many processes.
What is Agriculture in the Classroom?
Virginia AITC is a statewide educational program providing resources, training and support to schools, educators and volunteers so that they can meaningfully connect children to agriculture. We do this through AITC-designed lessons and resources, educator training workshops, newsletters, school grants, teacher awards, and volunteer projects and initiatives such as Agriculture Literacy Week. Recognizing that instructional time is highly valuable, our lessons are designed to support core subjects and uphold the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL).
Since the program began, AITC has served almost 17,000 teachers through workshops who have impacted over 469,000 students. Additionally, many educators use the AITC website services including lesson plans, student activities and literacy connections increasing the outreach and use of AITC materials and lessons.
Who pays for Agriculture in the Classroom?
The program is funded through donations to the Virginia Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Contributions from individuals, corporations, agricultural organizations and private foundations make AITC’s programs and services possible. The generosity of our supporters enables AITC to provide quality programs and continue to develop new and interesting resources that meet the needs of educators across Virginia and provide all services at no cost to teachers or school divisions.
In 1987, the Virginia Farm Bureau established the Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom program (AITC) to educate teachers and students about the importance of agriculture. AITC is a part of a nationwide effort to help teachers and students understand and appreciate agriculture—Virginia and the nation’s largest industry. There are corresponding efforts in all of the 50 states, but it is the only initiative of its kind in Virginia.