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California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom

2020-2021 Literacy for Life Grant Recipients

  • Christine Klistoff, Outstanding Educator

    Christine Klistoff

    "Garden Bed Lab"

    Fairmont Elementary School, Fresno County

    We have just entered in a partnership with Fresno State University for a program called Smartfarm University where they have purchased us a Farmbot; a robotic farming machine that sits on a raised bed and through software created by the students, it will seed, weed, and irrigate crops. We are very excited, but we do not have planter boxes at our school. Our project is to put in raised beds. Through distance learning, the students will be able to use their coding skills, CAD software, and the Open Farm database to design their garden bed from home through a 10-week curriculum. These lessons will be shared with other schools who may be getting a FarmBot in the future.

  • Amanda Bailey

    "California Ag: Students are the Teacher!"

    Blaker Kinser Junior High School, Stanislaus County

    Students and their families will sign up for the “BK Family Agriculture Night: California Ag!” Families will rotate to various stations, and the students will get to “teach” their families about California Agriculture and lead them through labs and tasting activities. Stations will highlight the top 10 commodities grown in California, with additional stations that relate to the agriculture industry in Stanislaus County and the Agricultural Education Program at Blaker Kinser Junior High School. If we have to adjust the plans to meet distance learning guidelines, a drive-through will be implemented where families pick up kits. Students and their families who participate will record how-to videos and prepare materials ahead of time so they can teach their families at home. After the drive-thru date and all the materials are picked up, students will take photos and/or videos of their families participating in the activities.

  • Carrie Boyce

    "Future Veggie Fans"

    Bellevue Elementary School, Sonoma County

    Fruits and vegetables will be provided to our first-grade students to conduct science experiments while distance learning. Experiments will include taste tests, sink or float, seed counting and identifying, categorizing, designing and life cycles. These projects can be done as family projects and with their classmates online.

  • Laurie Brady

    "Garden of Unity- Caring for the Earth Unites All of Us"

    Diegueno Middle School, San Diego County

    We will build upon our composting program by enriching soil in a 10 x 10 planter and plant a theme garden based on our unity and tolerance literacy program. We will link areas to core literature in middle school and include a “Stay Gold" area of sunflowers and "Anne Frank" Butterfly Garden to also serve as a Monarch Way Station. SDUHSD is accommodating ESL, SPED and Intervention students on our campus that will be able to participate in this project. We will create a video of our progress to share with the school community.

  • Cindy Burge

    "Eating Healthy During a Pandemic"

    Granger Junior, San Diego County

    Students will be planning, preparing, and enjoying healthy recipes weekly. Lessons will focus on nutrition, eating seasonally to save, and planning a menu. Building healthy habits for SPED students encourages good nutrition and trying new foods. We have established a taste to learn program to increase students' agricultural literacy efforts. In addition to this, we are also delivering food items and class supplies to families on a weekly basis at no cost.

  • Tammy Burris

    "Distance Learning Bio Labs"

    Grace Davis High School, Stanislaus County

    Students will participate in a series of STEM labs that can be done while distance learning. One lab will be an eco-system in a jar and students will witness the water cycle from the outside looking in. Students will also participate in a volume density lab where the students will construct their own scale out of a coat hanger, cups and a string. Students will explore a chemical reaction lab with water, vegetable oil, food coloring, and an Alka-Seltzer tablet. Students will also plant beans and have them see firsthand seed germination in a clear cup with various medians other than soil. These are the labs we will start with that can be done at home at a minimal cost.

  • Julie Cates

    "Climate, Create, Cultivate"

    Linwood Elementary School, Tulare County

    This terrarium and hydroponic garden project will engage students in the sixth-grade standards (MS-ESS2-4, MS-ESS2C) of climate change/exploration and phenomena while also addressing many of the Ag Literacy Pillars ( Students will research, design, and construct terrarium and hydroponic growing system-based planting to explore the effects of climate change and model the water cycle and effective water use. Students will explore the lessons of limited land space available for agriculture production (“Orange You Glad We Have Farmland”), the water cycle, climate change, atmospheric conditions and geography. Students will produce leafy greens hydroponically and consume them! The project will be administered both virtually (via zoom instruction with teachers and curriculum tech tools) as well as at home via our monthly school wide distribution of texts and learning support materials. There will be several checkpoints and progress markers. Students will track and reflect upon observations, temperature variations, and growth data using Google sheets and FlipGrid.

  • Ron Davis

    "School Garden"

    Foothill Middle School, Contra Costa County

    Foothill Middle School has a 100 x 300 garden area. It is fenced and we now have six 4 x 10 planter boxes in the garden area. We have 10 2 x 6 Redwood Planter boxes around the school. Vegetables and flower plants are kept growing in them year-round. Three science teachers at Foothill Middle School use the Aquaculture and Hydroponics equipment that is in the shop. Effectively there are over 500 students at any time utilizing the agriculture programs and activities. Every class begins with safety in the shop and outside the classroom. Students will learn parts of plants, parts of flowers and study plant science in more depth. Students will collect plants, dry them, and each student makes a book with the dried plants that include the plants identification and Information. Students will collect information on their plants from books such as Weeds of the West.

  • Stefanie Freele

    "Planting Instructions"

    West Side Elementary School, Sonoma County

    Using picture how-to books as prompts, such as Neil Gaiman's Instructions, students will read the book and create "Instructions" for activities like how to plant a potted plant, how to water a bed, how to care for corn, etc. Students will create a short "manual" to share with others. This is the perfect opportunity to use written information for the students to "teach" others.

  • Ed Garcia

    "See Through the Lens of a Microscope"

    Monte Vista School, Ventura County

    Monte Vista School and its horticultural program will share the magic of showing living organisms through virtual media using a compound microscope to encourage students to become aware of the agricultural world around them including botany, entomology, food sciences, and soil sciences. A compound microscope with USB connectivity to a computer will allow instructors to share with a group of students virtually, rather than one at a time. Slide material can be recorded and then uploaded to share, which can enable multiple users to benefit.

  • Cassie Gocke

    "Succulent of the Month Club"

    Fusion Charter School, Stanislaus County

    Students from Fusion Charter School will participate in running a succulent of the month club. They will not only learn about methods of propagation with succulents, but also the business aspect of selling plants. Students will also create a marketing plan to sell the succulents and design small informational sheets to place in the box with the succulent to teach the consumer how to care for it and fun facts about the succulent.

  • Laura Hatheway

    "Healthy Foods Make Healthy Bodies"

    Learning with Laura 123, Sacramento County

    The project Healthy Foods Make Healthy Bodies will bring awareness to the types of food that children eat. In this project we will explore different types of food (fruits, veggies, dairy), where they come from, and how they help our bodies grow! This will be done with live virtual lessons that will be recorded for students to revisit. Guest speakers including local farmers and ranchers will participate to answer questions about the food and the agricultural process.

  • Jane Hills

    "Let's Grow Something!"

    Pacific Union, Fresno County

    Students love to watch things grow! This project will allow them to plant vegetable and flower seeds at home in germination boxes, then replant them outside when the weather permits. Students will research their particular seed type and find out exactly how to plant, germinate, and replant the seedling. From start to finish, it will be their labor of love. Each week materials for the project will be delivered to the students via the bus route. Directions will be supplied in these packets and in Google Meet sessions and Google Classroom posts. Students will be advised what steps to take to ensure the seed germinates, proper sunlight requirements, watering techniques, and how to properly note the germination of the seed and the growth of the seedling.

  • Jen Howell

    "Agriculture in the Classroom"

    Edison Elementary School, Alameda County

    Students will receive a solid foundation of agricultural growing practices and lessons regarding soil health, water quality and conservation, greenhouse gas mitigation, buying local, IPM, rangelands, fire ecology, gardening for pollinators, plant nutrient needs, seed saving, plant parts and identification, native vs. invasive, and nutritional health science. Video lessons will be posted online and the link sent to all District schools and teachers. The students can view the lesson related to their grade level and continue watching and attain more information about that topic as their curiosity grows. The lessons will be banked so each year there will be new topics and additions to previous year topics. Students will receive vocabulary words, worksheets, and book/reading suggestions if applicable, prior to the lesson to more effectively grasp the knowledge from each topic.

  • Laurie Hunter

    "Agriculture in the Virtual Classroom"

    Cole Elementary School, Fresno County

    Our Project: To create the first two of a four-part series of professionally produced educational videos on agricultural topics for elementary school students of all ages. These videos will provide opportunity for students/families to learn organic agriculture in Central Valley and engage in gardening activities while experiencing in-home distance learning due to California Covid-19 restrictions. Videos will be sent to all teachers for distance learning use (PreK -6th grade) and posted on YouTube-for easy accessibility at home. Our vision for the future is that these four videos will be the start of an extensive video series to help children learn more about agriculture and growing their own produce, make them available throughout the entire school district, and expand the topics and grade level audiences each year.

  • Danielle Hyatt

    "AgriScience Projects"

    Ripon High School, San Joaquin County

    This is an Agri-science project where students will be able to test a hydroponics system compared to a traditional growing system. Students will have a hands-on learning experience where they will be able to see the results and oversee the project. Students will be able to pick up the supplies and materials from the school site. The students will then be able to perform the project/experiment at home.

  • Ann Jayne

    "Edible Gardening"

    Banta Elementary School, San Joaquin County

    Banta Elementary School is a transitional kindergarten through eighth grade school of 300 students. We have become an agricultural school and embed agricultural sciences into our daily academics. We have a 1.3-acre garden in need of support. All students work in the garden and each classroom has a dedicated raised bed in which to work; and, we have an outdoor learning space as well. While we hope to have students in the garden soon, or at least by January, this project can be supported virtually. The support from this grant will supply additional supplies to teach and learn in our garden. We will purchase seeds, learning tools, books, and virtual field trips to enhance learning.

  • Diane Johnson

    "Johnson Farm School"

    Blosser Lane Elementary School, Mendocino County

    This project is an opportunity for our 4th and 5th grade students to have a weekly glimpse into the life of a "hobby farmer" here in Mendocino County. The project will creatively enhance agricultural literacy for our students at Blosser Lane by providing real life experiences to share, discuss and enhance conversations about current events in the agricultural world. The funds will purchase materials to help students engage and a digital platform to experience the project. To make this project work in a distance learning environment, video platforms will be used to share the outdoor experiences: YouTube to share with multiple groups, Google Classroom to bring to my own students and Zoom to discuss with my students.

  • Classic Lane

    "Agriculture TLC"

    Nehemiah Christian Academy, Sacramento County

    The project will introduce gardening and farming to inner city students in a fun way. We will visit a few farms virtually to give an overview on the topic of the love of agriculture. To allow the students to learn the who, what, when, where and how we experience agriculture. Students will start with a garden and possibly have a few pets to work on the responsibility and cause and effect of being the owners of a brave new world of school gardening and farming. The project will enhance agricultural literacy through lesson plans and outlined learning and teaching expectations. There will also be opportunity to research agriculture and visit local farmers markets.

  • Chris Lavagnino

    "Harvesting Knowledge with Ag-Themed Books"

    Ronald Reagan Elementary School, Madera County

    School libraries, although a great resource for accessing knowledge, don't always have extensive collections in all topics. My goal for this academic year is to locate and purchase a wide variety of agriculturally themed books for students and staff to check out from our school library catalogue. Over the past few years, the agricultural science units at my school have slowly developed, along with our school garden. However, one missing component is access to quality literature and factual texts that promote the importance of agriculture. In the coming weeks, we will be able to host small “learning pods” on campus. When this time arrives, students will also be invited to access the resources in our school library.

  • Holly Pawlicki

    "Gardening 101"

    Warner Elementary School, San Diego County

    The 5th and 6th grade classes will build a small school garden for all students to enjoy. We have a space picked out but have had a hard time getting it going. We especially have challenges with pest management which will be a great focus for our project. The 5th grade teacher and I have spoken about how to incorporate the garden in distance learning. One way we plan to do this is to have our live meetings in the garden and allow students to brainstorm ideas. We will introduce plants, growing cycles, and pest management options electronically. Hands-on activities will resume when we are back at school.

  • Margarita Ramos

    "Gardening-A Virtual Step Away!"

    Ynez Elementary School, Los Angeles County

    Ynez Elementary School is located in Monterey Park; a rural area in the San Gabriel Valley. School gardening provides creative instructional strategies introducing a hands-on learning laboratory. During the COVID pandemic, students are distance learning from home. “Gardening - A Virtual Step Away” will provide Ms. Ramos with resources to integrate gardening in today's virtual classroom. Ms. Ramos, along with her students, will have tomato plants to grow, experiment, note observations, and harvest for sampling. Ms. Ramos will grow a variety of tomatoes in a raised bed, and an upside-down planter. Once the concepts are introduced virtually, students will apply the lesson applications with their own home gardening projects. Students will learn about plant growth, the science of gravity and benefits of eating tomatoes.

  • Mary Riley

    "Farm Tour Kits"

    Sonora High School, Orange County

    Annually, Sonora High School has approximately 2,000 elementary school students visit our farm to learn about agriculture through hands-on stations during scheduled farm tours that are led by FFA members. This grant would allow students to offer hands-on, virtual farm tours and lessons given by FFA students. Even as restrictions are beginning to be lifted, we know the traditional travel for field trips will not be possible to keep all students, staff and parent volunteers safe. This project allows Sonora FFA to convert the program we historically offered to be compatible with distance learning. FFA students will teach lessons in soil science, seed germination, dairy products, egg development, and animals that live on the farm. Participating elementary school teachers will receive a kit of supplies to allow students to have hands-on components of each lesson.

  • Valerie Stark

    "Farm to Table"

    Clearlake Creativity, Lake County

    I work in a special education setting with students in grades 8-12. Through this project students will learn Agriculture (vocation), Science, ELA, Math, and Health or Nutrition. This Farm to Table garden project will allow students to work with their hands and learn the importance of agriculture in America and our daily lives. This grant will allow us to add more garden boxes in school garden plot, seeds to plant, and soil. We hope to have the garden supply snack and lunch items to the whole school. Once a week the lesson includes a taste of the week to introduce new flavors. We will incorporate a cooking element to the program with food preparation and safe food handling. This project will also introduce jobs in the agricultural field and how agriculture relates to so many aspects of our lives. The cumulative project will be a feast in the fall and harvest season of the following year with the food we grew in the schools garden.

  • Allison Tenzer

    "Desktop Gardening"

    Serrania Charter for Enriched Studies, Los Angeles County

    Students will be designing, researching, and planting their own desktop gardens. We have a beautiful school garden that the students thoroughly enjoyed tending. However, due to the current situation, we don't have access to the garden. Having the students actively participate in planting their own garden will bring agricultural literacy right into their own homes. The students will pick up their materials from school on specific dates. We will then create, research, design, and plant our own desktop gardens.