Cream of the Crop

October 2008

Imagine this... Story Writing Contest
Deadline: Nov. 1, 2008
Aspiring young authors, writing aficionados and students with a great story to share have just one month left to enter the Imagine this... story writing contest. Students in grades 3-8 from public, private, charter and home schools are invited to write a factual or fictional story about California agriculture for a chance to win fantastic prizes!
For more information, and an entry form, visit CFAITC's Web site.

2009 Literacy for Life Teaching Award
Nomination Deadline: October 24, 2008
Application Deadline: November 21, 2008
Thousands of California teachers are making a difference by bringing agriculture into their classrooms. Are you one of them? We want to know about your unique and innovative approaches to connecting your students to their food and fiber sources. Top awards include $1,000 cash prizes and expense-paid trips to the National AITC Conference in St. Louis, MO, June 24-27, 2009.
Nominate yourself or another educator at

CFAITC Survey Announcement
Can you spare 5-10 minutes to give us a hand at making our programs more beneficial to you? Next month we will be conducting a brief survey in order to improve our program and to make AITC a more valuable resource for you! Each person who completes a survey will receive a window decal. Be on the lookout for the survey beginning November 1. Thank you in advance for your input!

School Garden Week
Oct. 25-31, 2008
California School Garden Network (CSGN) is encouraging schools throughout California to host garden activities and events to celebrate the success of school gardens across California.
Browse the Event Calendar to learn about events in your area.

Farm-City Week
Nov. 21-27, 2008
Farm-City Week is dedicated to strengthening the understanding of the farm-city connections that provide food, fiber and shelter. Many local communities are planning special events during the week. Visit for materials and resources that can be used in the classroom or to plan your own event.

AGRIscapes Teacher Recognition Day
Oct. 25, 2008, AGRIscpaes, Cal Poly Pomona
Educators, dignitaries and community members will gather in Pomona to recognize teachers who have given so much to promote awareness about California agriculture and nutrition in the classroom and at the Schools' Agriculture and Nutrition Fair. Registration (free) begins at 10 a.m. and the event starts with agriculture and nutrition resource exhibits and demonstrations. Luncheon and workshops follow.
For more information, contact Louise Romano at 909/468-4433.

Nourishing Choices
This new resource from the National Gardening Association provides a roadmap for developing a food education program while helping children get excited about healthful eating.
For more information, and to order ($21.95), visit

Growing Greener School Grounds Conference
Oct. 10-11, 2008, San Francisco, CA
This conference, hosted by the San Francisco Schoolyard Alliance, will include workshops focusing on creating, using, and sustaining ecological schoolyards and will give participants the opportunity to learn ecology-related curricula, construction, and gardening techniques while simultaneously improving the grounds of the schools hosting the event. The Friday evening keynote address will be presented by Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods.
For more information, and to register, visit

Earth-friendly Fabrics
Shirts made from bamboo, socks made from corn, and jackets made from chicken feathers may be in your fashion future. This article from Science News for Kids explores fibers made from organic or recycled fabrics and the future of fibers made from farm waste. To read the full-text, visit
For more ideas and information, subscribe to AgroWorld E-zine:

Reproducible Fruit and Vegetable Garden Signs
These black-line masters are available online from San Diego Resource Conservation District. Forty-three versions highlight a fruit or vegetable, from apples to zucchini, and a nutrition fact. To use as garden signs, print out on card stock or copy paper and have students color. Laminate, staple two back-to-back to a stake or post. Can also be used as worksheets, compiled as a class book, or used to decorate a bulletin board.
To download, visit

Online Videos
Watch these videos to learn more about agriculture and gardening topics or learn how others are teaching in the garden. More video recommendations are available through the California School Garden Network and Life Lab "Garden-based Learning Videos Blog" at

Million Trees Los Angeles Initiative
Deadline: Nov. 14, 2008
As a part of the 2008 Environmental Youth Conference, which will be held on December 13, Million Trees Los Angeles (MTLA) is soliciting grant proposals from schools that have successfully completed and implemented urban forestry projects in their schools, communities or neighborhoods. The purpose of the grant competition is to recognize successful youth-led urban forestry projects, and to promote the sustainability of youth environmental activism. Each successful applicant may receive a grant of up to $1,000 to continue their urban forestry projects, and may be highlighted at the conference in December.
For more information, visit