A Taste of Christian County Agriculture

Christian County Ag Literacy Program
Taylorville, IL
Grade Levels: K-8
Teacher: Ann Lupton

Project Proposal

A. Primary Learning Objectives

  1. OBJECTIVE 1: To connect teachers in grades K-8 with agriculture and teach them how to incorporate agriculture into their classroom curriculum.
  2. OBJECTIVE 2: Teachers will visit the Dudley Smith Farm to learn about agricultural research and new alternatives in agriculture such as miscanthus grass. Speakers from the University of Illinois will introduce the teachers to the research projects that are going on at the farm. Teachers will also learn about sustainable agriculture. The value of eating locally produced food will be promoted.
  3. OBJECTIVE 3: Teachers will learn about the many resources available to Christian county educators through the agencies such as Christian County Soil and Water Conservation District, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Illinois Department of Ag, and the Illinois State Geological Survey.
  4. OBJECTIVE 4: To connect teachers with local producers.

B. Summary of Activities and Timeline

This program will last 4 days and offer teachers 25 CPDU’s with the possibility of graduate credit available.

  1. Day 1: Introductions and Course Syllabus at Dudley Smith Illinois Farm Products Game – an icebreaker and intro to Illinois Ag Products Dudley Smith researchers present program
    Local Agency presentations –
    NRCS – presented with hands-on ideas for the classroom and the video – “Surviving the Dustbowl”
    ISGS – Illinois Geology and available resources
    Illinois Dept. of Agriculture – Eat Local presentation
  2. Day 2: Illinois Ag In the Classroom – 3-hour presentation on hands-on ag curriculum
    Lunch Break – Mid-Illinois Pork Producers Tracey Lindquist demonstration
    Visit a pork production facility for a hands-on experience with hog farming
    Receive pork curriculum
    Visit with Farmer’s Market Coordinator
  3. Day 3: Organic production – Visit a beef and row crop organic farm
    Receive beef curriculum
    Visit a dairy farm
    Receive dairy curriculum from Midwest Dairy
  4. Day 4: Visit Watershed Park and IDNR
    Lunch at a restaurant featuring local products
    Summary of Activities and presentation of lesson plans

C. How these activities will accomplish the objectives

Christian county teachers are surrounded by agriculture but have very little knowledge of the industry. Teachers will be introduced to agriculture in the county on a personal level, one-on-one with the producer. This will foster relationships that can be used for classroom instruction. Farmers that will be selected for the tours will allow the educators to have some hands-on experiences with farming and may even be open to classroom visits during the school year. Visiting Dudley Smith Farm will help teachers to learn about the research end of agriculture, as well as give them an idea of the resources available to them through the Dudley Smith Initiative. The Farmer’s Market presentation will reinforce the idea of sustainable agriculture and eating locally grown fresh foods. Illinois Ag in the Classroom will give the teachers lessons that can be easily incorporated into their curriculum. These lessons are hands-on and cover a wide range of curriculum areas. Teachers will visit with local agencies to get good ideas about what resources are available to them to supplement their curriculum.

D. Number of students and others who will learn from this effort

I will accept a maximum of 25 students.

Method of project evaluation

Teachers will be given a pre-survey and a post-survey to see if their knowledge of agriculture has increased. Teachers will be given a chance to evaluate the program as well. Finally, teachers will present one lesson plan that incorporates agriculture into their curriculum.