Ag Lit Bit What did Ewe learn? SAI 2018
What did Ewe learn? SAI 2018
As an intern with the Cook County Farm Bureau, I had the opportunity to join sixteen other teachers on the Summer Agriculture Institute. The Summer Agriculture Institute allows teachers to learn more about agriculture through first hand experiences. As a person who loves to see things first hand, I immediately knew that this would be a great experience. The journey ultimately started on July 10 at the Cook County Farm Bureau and ended July 13 at the Cook County Farm bureau, and included thirteen stops along the way.
Being an agricultural sciences education major, I was excited to see how I could connect my prior knowledge to the subjects and to see it first-hand. The teachers all shared that excitement at every stop, investigating the fields, asking questions, and actively participating in the activities offered to them.
The first day included four stops and they all had a common theme, corn. Each farm had different information to share such as, showing the dryers and silos that hold corn, explaining the growing seasons, and sharing how roadside sweet corn is planted in intervals in order to allow sales all summer. Day one also included an inside look as to how cow fat and marbling is determined, to allow for a cattle’s proper diet, a look at how drones are becoming handy for assessing field quality, and showing the process of mapping of fields to determine soil quality for every section of the field.
Day two was the longest day, because it included six stops which covered a large variety of agricultural practices. From learning the process of turning wool into yarn to learning how to operate a dog biscuit bakery, there was a variety of information. A stop that I found to be very interesting was touring Edwards Apple Orchard in Poplar Grove. They have a large fan in the middle of their farm to help keep frost off the apple blossoms in the spring, which is an interesting concept that stirs up warm air to prevent frost from forming.Day three was a shorter day, with three tours on the itinerary. The stops were all diverse and very interesting. With Walnut Grove Vocational Farm being a farm for adults with special needs, who can be in an environment they love. They receive agriculture and horticulture training in order to build skills for job placement. Another stop we spent a majority of our time at was Walnut Grove Farm LLC in Kirkland, Illinois. At this third-generation family farm , teachers were able to watch cows being milked and discuss sanitation and food safety. Participants also discussed organic and conventional farming as well as food labels.
The last day was spent at the farm bureau, where guest speakers generously gave the teachers several materials that they could use in their classroom. This included games, applications for grants, lessons, and whole plans for units.
This trip is exploding with information that can help not only future teachers, but the general public. After having the opportunity to visit with farmers that are incredibly welcoming, I would encourage every person given the opportunity to do anything similar to take full advantage.
Thank you to the farms and presenters that hosted the tours this year!
Larson Farm Illinois Wool and Fiber Mill Pound Bakery
Pitstick Farm Edwards Apple Orchard McEachran Homestead Winery
Johnson Farm Friendly Franseen Walnut Grove Vocational Farm
Whiskey Acres Twin Gardens AgReliant Genetics
Walnut Grove Farm LLC FCAE Nutrients for Life
Illinois Ag in the Classroom