Cream of the Crop

February 2011

In this issue:
Teacher Feature - Sherrie Taylor Vann
1. Literacy for Life Teaching Award Winners
2. CFAITC's 25th Anniversary Events
3. Imagine this... Stories and Illustrations
4. Garden Based Learning Teacher's Training
5. Reminder: California School Garden Survey
6. Capitol Ag Day
7. Cattle Ranch & Wildflower Tour
8. CFAITC Annual Survey: Great Responses!
News - Celebrating a milestone by returning to our roots
County - Local Events

Teacher Feature - Sherrie Taylor Vann
3rd grade teacher
Williams Elementary School
Colusa County

Tell us about a golden teaching moment.
One of my students told me all about the fresh produce her family bought at our local farmers market when she returned to school on Monday after we had spent time learning about the importance of buying locally at the local fruit stand or farmers market. read more...

1. Literacy for Life Teaching Award Winners
The 2011 award recipients are:

Sherrie Taylor Vann, Literacy for Life Award 2011
3rd grade, Williams Elementary School - Williams, Colusa County
Laura Romo, Emerging Seed Award 2011
6th grade, Jefferson Leadership Academies - Long Beach, Los Angeles County
Lindsey Kovach, Vocational Agriculture Award 2011
High School Agriculture, Ponderosa High School - Shingle Springs, El Dorado County

These teachers have not only brought agriculture into their classrooms, but have embraced it. Their teachings are the spark of appreciation for their students. This good work is being recognized. Expect to see more from them in the future.

2. CFAITC's 25th Anniversary Events
Save the dates!

Learn more at

3. Imagine this... Stories and Illustrations
Full text of the winning stories are now available online at Read them on the website or download for your favorite e-reader.

High School art students are bringing the words to life with their pens, pencils, markers, and mouse. Wait until you see the illustrations! The full-color paperback book will be published next month and launched at the awards ceremony on Mar. 24.

4. Garden Based Learning Teacher's Training
Mar. 12, 2011, San Luis Obispo
This workshop through the UC Master Gardener program offers ideas for connecting school gardens to classroom instruction.
For more information, visit

5. Reminder: California School Garden Survey
Extended deadline: Mar. 18, 2011
Life Lab, in collaboration with the California School Garden Network, is conducting a survey of California School Gardens. The information gathered from this survey will help those that are creating and supporting school garden projects across the state and nation.
To fill out the survey, visit

6. Capitol Ag Day
Mar. 23, 2011
Celebrate at the Capitol! The grounds will be alive with farm animals, food and entertainment, all celebrating California's great agricultural bounty. Sponsored booths will share samples of California commodities and information with state legislators, legislative staffers, state agency representatives, the media and the general public.
For more information, visit

7. Cattle Ranch & Wildflower Tour
Apr. 30, 2011, Alameda County
Educators are invited to take this tour from the California Beef Council to learn more about the people who grow, cultivate and raise the food we eat. Includes tour of a cattle ranch, lunch, resources, panel discussion, chef demonstration and more. One Continuing Education Unit (CEU) is available through Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo Continuing Education.
For more information, and to register, contact Christie Van Egmond at (916) 925-2333 ext. 11, or visit

8. CFAITC Annual Survey: Great Responses!
Thank you for all the great feedback! We had more than 500 responses. We're compiling all of the results and will turn your suggestions into action. Thank-you gifts are in the mail and should be arriving shortly.

Celebrating a milestone by returning to our roots
By Kenny Watkins

Throughout much of our nation's history, agriculture and education have been inherently connected. For decades, most Americans lived on farms or in small towns, students often did farm chores before and after school, and the school year was determined by planting, cultivating and harvesting schedules. Old school books are full of agricultural references and examples, because farming and farm animals were a familiar part of nearly every child's life. read more...

Lesson Plan: Busy Bees
Students learn about the pollination cycle through a hands-on activity. This lesson meets California science standards for grades 1-3 and can easily be adapted to meet the educational standards for a variety of grade levels. Download (PDF, 159 KB)

Book: Farmer George Plants a Nation by Peggy Thomas and Layne Johnson
In this book, George Washington's letters show how his efforts to create a self-sufficient farm mirrored his struggle to create a free nation. ISBN 978-1-59078-460-0

Resource: Network for a Healthy California—Children's Power Play! Campaign: Community Youth Organization Idea & Resource Kit
Designed for the afterschool setting, the lessons in the kit help students explore setting goals, spread the word about healthy eating and physical activity within their communities. Resource available for free to low incomes sites, also available online.

Website: Smithsonian National Zoological Park
This website provides resources for teachers to teach science lessons using local forests, parkland or other natural areas as a living ecosystem laboratory.

Local Events