Cream of the Crop

February 2009

Milk Matters! Discovering Dairy new
This new comprehensive unit for grades 4-6 includes five lessons that relate life on a dairy farm to several state content standards. From investigating the historical significance of dairy breeds to conquering mathematical business challenges, students will understand why milk matters.
Download from the CFAITC Web site.

Literacy for Life Teaching Award Winners!
David Menshew of James C. Enochs High School in Stanislaus County has been awarded the 2009 Literacy for Life teaching award. Menshew, a 15-year teaching veteran, has developed teaching kits about agriculture biotechnology. His high school students use the kits to teach middle and elementary school students how to perform DNA extractions from both plants and animals. The following teachers also received recognition for their efforts in increasing awareness and understanding of agriculture among California's students.

Emerging Seed
Suzanne Squires, Los Olivos Elementary School, Santa Barbara County
Vocational Agriculture
Brenda Lacey, Lone Pine High School, Inyo County

These teachers are planting the seeds of the future. Congratulations!

What's Growin' On? Your Link to California Agriculture new
The 7th edition of our 16-page newspaper tab is now available for download from the CFAITC Web site. Free classroom sets are also available. Request yours by filling out the online form or calling 800/700-AITC (2482). The heat illness matching game from page 10 has been added to CFAITC's Kids' Corner as an online activity. Activities from previous editions are also included in the student section of the Web site. Sets of the sixth edition, Planting Healthy Lives, are still available. Request both for your students today!

Tulare County Farm Bureau Calendar Art Contest
Deadline: Feb. 13, 2009
Tulare County students in grades K-12 are invited to enter Farm Bureau's 2009 Calendar Art Contest. This year's theme is "Tulare County Agriculture... A Healthy Choice." Winning entries will be printed in a 12-month full-color calendar distributed to schools throughout the county. The winners will be presented prizes and cash awards at the National Agriculture Week presentation with the Tulare County Board of Supervisors on Mar. 17, 2009.
For more information, Visit

Santa Cruz Farm Bureau Ag Day Poster and Poetry Contest
Deadline: Feb. 20, 2009
Agri-Culture and the Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau invite students in grades K-6 to enter the poster contest, and students in grades 7-12 to enter the poetry contest. This year's theme is "Grown in Santa Cruz County and the Pajaro Valley." Posters should be on white paper, less than 16" x 20". Poetry can be any style but should not exceed 12 lines. First prizes are a $200 savings bond, and the winning artwork and poem will be featured on 16,000 placemats distributed to county restaurants. Submit entries to Santa Cruz Farm Bureau, 141 Monte Vista Avenue, Watsonville, CA 95076.
For more information, call (831) 724-1356.

2009 National Beef Cook-off
Deadline: Mar. 31, 2009
Teens, ages 13 to 19, are invited to send in an original beef family recipe that they enjoy preparing themselves at home. Selected teen finalists will be flown with a guardian to prepare their recipe for judging at the competition in San Francisco. Winner of the "teens cooking" category receives $10,000.
For rules, and online entry form, visit

Grounding in Botany: Integrating Plants into the High School Science Classroom
June 22, 2009-July 16, 2009, Huntington Botanical Gardens, Los Angeles County
This professional development course from Huntington Botanical Gardens for high school biology/life science teachers includes practice of hands-on, inquiry-based classroom experiments as well as lectures, networking, creation of lesson plans, resource reviews, and more. The stages of a plant's life cycle are the foundation for explorations of plant reproduction, the cell, genetics, respiration, photosynthesis, and many other topics. Participants are provided with a $1,500 summer stipend and a $500 classroom grant for supplies. Five follow-up support workshops throughout the school year are also available, and carry $100 stipends each. Out-of-area participants will receive a travel and housing allowance of $2,600.
For more information, and to apply, visit

The Great Sunflower Project
Help the bees, add beauty to your garden, and learn about agriculture—all at the same time. This project, started by Gretchen LeBuhn at San Francisco State University, about learning the challenges facing bees by collecting data from citizen scientists across the U.S. is continuing this year. Sign up online to request your free seeds today!
For more information, visit

Festivals and Fairs
Food festivals offer new ways to enjoy old favorites. Spend an evening nearby or get away for the weekend to experience the parades, music, artwork, and—of course—culinary expressions inspired by California's agricultural abundance.

Carrot Festival
Imperial County, Jan. 30-Feb. 8, 2009
Olive Festival Finale Weekend
Sonoma County, Feb. 13-15, 2009
Date Festival
Riverside County Fair, Feb. 13-22, 2009
Mustard Festival
Napa County, March 28, 2009