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 farms to schools through education by helping teachers 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 and training for teachers PreK-5 and pre-service teachers so that they can easily integrate agriculture across the curriculum. We do not ask teachers to take time out of their very busy instructional day and teach a lesson on agriculture. Instead, we provide lessons 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.