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Mar-16-2016 20:37printcomments

Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom Kicks off the 2016 Literacy Project

Because everyone EATS.... agriculture is important to 100% of us.

Myers Elementary
Myers Elementary students in Salem, Oregon.
Photo: AITC

(SALEM, Ore.) - Fifth graders in Salem physically tried on different career possibilities at the annual Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC) Literacy Project 2016 Kick-off at Myers Elementary School this week.

The 2016 featured book Before We Eat: From Farm to Table, and the related lesson feature a myriad of careers available in the Oregon farming, forestry, fishing, and fiber industries.

The message is especially important now as the average age of US farmers approaches 60, and many more people will be needed to fill agricultural and natural resource positions in the coming years.

Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom has been working for decades to excite young students about agriculture. The AITC's annual Literacy Project is in its 9th year.

One book is chosen every year, and a lesson plan is developed to reinforce the message of the book; the book then remains in the classrooms of participating teachers.

Across Oregon, the project has eager volunteers bringing each Literacy Project book into the classroom: over 725 volunteers read to 20,077 students in 889 classes statewide in 2015 alone.

The kick-off event featured Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom’s Teacher of the Year Scott Kiser giving an introduction of the program; Carolyn Jackson, a longtime program volunteer providing an entertaining and thought-provoking discussion about where food comes from; and Executive Director Jessica Jansen having kids dress up in career costumes and talking about the process of food going from farm to table.

"I hope students take away a better knowledge of the (agricultural) opportunities in Oregon," Kiser said.

The 2016 AITC Literacy Project has been generously supported by Oregon Women for Agriculture, NORPAC and Oregon State University, College of Agricultural Sciences.

For more information on how to become a volunteer with the Literacy Project, or have a volunteer come to your classroom, please visit oregonaitc.org/trainingevents/literacy-project/.

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

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