March 23, 2017
By Debra Davis
Farm tours are a popular part of the Ag In The Classroom Summer Institute.
Teachers can discover Alabama’s rich agricultural heritage, learn about the state’s largest industry, earn continuing education credits and talk to top farmers by attending a free summer program May 31-June 2 in Tuscaloosa.
Applications are being accepted from teachers and other education specialists through April 15 for the annual Alabama Ag In the Classroom (AITC) Summer institute. The institute is limited to 95 participants who will attend workshops and farm tours and receive hundreds of dollars in classroom resource materials.
“Our students often aren’t exposed to where their food comes from,” said Bobbie Bankston, a first-grade teacher who attended last year’s institute. “Now that I have curriculum materials, I can engage them in hands-on activities to educate them about the different aspects of this industry.”
The Alabama Farmers Federation sponsors AITC with funding primarily from the Alabama Farmers Agriculture Foundation’s ag tag sales. The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries and state agriculture organizations also provide support.
Craft workshops held during the institute are always a hit with teachers, said Federation Women’s Leadership Director Kim Ramsey, who is AITC state committee chairman. But farm tours are always the most popular, she added.
“The teachers can use craft activities in their classrooms to help educate students about agriculture,” Ramsey said, “The farm tours give them the opportunity to see how hard our farmers work to provide the food and fiber grown in our state. The teachers also have an opportunity to talk directly to farmers, which helps remove a lot of the misinformation that’s out there about how our food is grown. For many teachers who attend the institute, it’s their first visit to a farm.”
This year’s tours include visits to cattle, catfish and row crop farms, a visit to the Greensboro Opera House for lunch and a farmer panel discussion, and a stop at the Children’s Hands On Museum in Tuscaloosa.
For more information or to apply visit Ag in the Classroom.
To see photos of the 2016 AITC Summer Institute, visit the Federation Flickr page.