What is Ag In The Classroom?
In 1985, then Secretary of Agriculture John Block asked a group of elementary students where food came from. Without hesitation, the students replied that food came from grocery stores. Secretary Block went back to USDA in Washington D.C. and initiated the AGRICULTURE IN THE CLASSROOM project to help our nation’s young people understand the real source of their food and fiber, and the system that brings it to their tables.
Since then, agricultural groups in each state have launched programs to help students increase their knowledge of the food and fiber system of their state, thus enabling them to make intelligent decisions as consumers, voters, and eventually, as public leaders.
Idaho Ag In The Classroom's Journey
In 1986, the Idaho Ag in the Classroom Association was founded to plan, develop and disseminate a quality, easy to use curriculum supplement for Idaho teachers. The original goal was to have an AITC guidebook in every 4th grade classroom in Idaho.
In 1987, the Association contracted with the University of Idaho to research and develop a curriculum guide that would enable teachers to use examples from Idaho agriculture to teach language, science, social studies, mathematics and health/nutrition. The guide was tested across the state and approved by the State Board of Education.
In 1998, the process began to rewrite the original 4th curriculum. By 1998, nearly 2000 teachers had participated in summer workshops across the state. The demand for the curriculum was beyond 4th grade and instructors in public, private and home schooling were asking for materials Pre K – 12th grade. A new series of educational materials were developed. A resource guide book for teachers that provided a wealth of background materials about production of food and fiber and a series of four activity books, Pre K–2nd, 3rd–6th, 7th-8th, and 9th-12th.
Idaho Ag in the Classroom is a cooperative effort between the USDA, Idaho State Department of Agriculture, University of Idaho, agribusiness, commodity groups, farm organizations, farmers, ranchers, and educators across the state.