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New York Agriculture in the Classroom

About Us

History of New York Agriculture in the Classroom

Established in 1985, New York Agriculture in the Classroom (NYAITC) is a partnership of Cornell University, the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, the NYS Education Department, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and the New York Farm Bureau.

Mission

Our mission is to foster awareness, understanding, and appreciation of how we produce food and fiber, what we eat, and how we live, by helping educators, students, and their communities learn about and engage with agriculture and food systems.

We work with pre-K through middle school teachers, Cornell Cooperative Extension and other community educators, farmers and producers, volunteers, parents, and community partners to increase agricultural literacy in New York State.

What is Agricultural Literacy?

Less than 2% of our population actually produces food on farms, while nearly 20% of our nation's workforce is in some way, shape, or form involved in the processing, marketing, distribution, and sales of food and fiber products. We all rely on agriculture every day--from food we eat, fibers our clothes are made of, and other materials we use each day to agriculture's relationship with our environment, economy, and society. And yet, little is taught in most schools about agriculture and food and fiber systems. NYAITC aims to increase agricultural literacy while supporting opportunities for hands-on teaching and learning, meeting state standards, enhancing student achievement, and connecting with community.

What is New York Agriculture in the Classroom?

NYAITC envisions a day when educators, students, and communities in New York:

  • Recognize the connection between agricultural production and the daily consumption of food and fiber products
  • Appreciate the economic, social, historical, and scientific significance of agriculture in our local and global society
  • Understand the complexity of today's agriculture and food systems
  • Explore the many career opportunities in all areas of agriculture and food systems

Annual Report

See how the Agricultural Education Outreach team is providing educational opportunities that develop informed consumers and help students of all ages to become agriculturally literate.

Past Reports

Specialty License Plates Support NY AITC

In 2003, Lt. Governor Mary Donohue, along with State Agriculture Commissioner Nathan L. Rudgers and State Commissioner of Motor Vehicles Raymond P. Martinez, unveiled New York's "Ag Tag" custom license plate, the proceeds from which will benefit the New York Agriculture in the Classroom Program.

Partners

Cornell Cooperative Extension
New York Farm Bureau
New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets
NYS Education Department
National Agriculture in the Classroom
New York Farm Bureau Foundation for Agricultural Education

Advisory Committee

Permanent Members

Shari Lighthall
Shari Lighthall
Director
Agricultural Education Outreach
Alexa Maille
Alexa Maille
NYS 4-H STEM Specialist
Cornell Cooperative Extension & Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research
Darleen Krisher-Meehan
Darleen Krisher-Meehan
Chair
New York Farm Bureau State Promotion & Education Committee
Tahirah Cook
Tahirah Cook
Excelsior Fellow
NYS Department of Ag and Markets

Rotating Member

Mary Coolbaugh
Mary Coolbaugh
Agriculture Teacher
DeRuyter Central School
Mary Jeanne Packer
Mary Jeanne Packer
Executive Director
Christmas Tree Farmers Assoc. of NY, Inc.
Christina Day
Christina Day
Ag Safety Educator
New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health
Kate Downes
Kate Downes
Program Coordinator
NY Farm Net
Katherine Brosnan Staiger
Katherine Brosnan Staiger
Director of Industry Relations & Consumer Promotions
New York Beef Council
Tess Southern
Tess Southern
Cornell Cooperative Extension
Patti Fisher
Patti Fisher
Chair
American Farm Bureau Promotion & Education Committee
Kate Dorr
Kate Dorr
Assistant School Lunch Director
Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES

Agricultural Outreach and Education Team

Katie Carpenter
Katie Carpenter
Director
New York Agriculture in the Classroom
Sarah Peavey
Sarah Peavey
Program Assistant
New York Agriculture in the Classroom
Shari Lighthall
Shari Lighthall
Director
Agricultural Education Outreach
Derek Hill
Derek Hill
Director
New York FFA