Agriculture to the Classroom: Inspiring Youngest Pennsylvanians During Ag Literacy Week


Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding recently celebrated Ag Literacy Week, reading to second-graders at Avon Grove Charter School in Landenberg, Chester County, and touring the school farm, which was funded by PA Farm Bill Farm to School Grants.

Throughout PA Ag Literacy Week, March 18-22, Secretary Redding and other department officials joined agriculture educators statewide in reading Anywhere Farm by Phyllis Root, and leading hands-on activities to connect young children to the science of food production. The week is a project of the Pennsylvania Friends of Agriculture Foundation, which partners with the department on this and other projects to expose young people to agriculture careers.

“Reading to kids feeds healthy, hungry minds,” Secretary Redding said. “We can’t feed our future together if we don’t feed those hungry young minds inspiration for who they can be tomorrow. Getting their hands in the soil of a garden, then eating fresh vegetables they helped to grow connects children with a future in the science of agriculture and food. The Shapiro Administration is committed to feeding that future together by investing in agriculture, and in creating opportunities for all Pennsylvanians through agriculture.”

In November 2023, Avon Grove Charter School was among the recipients of PA Farm Bill Farm-to-School Grants of $605,398 awarded to 56 schools, school districts, and childhood education centers in 28 counties. Grants of up to $15,000 per year support projects aimed at improving access to healthy, local food and increasing hands-on learning for children in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade.

Avon Grove Charter School is a three-time grant recipient of a total of $17,000 to supply fresh produce in the school cafeteria, and support the school’s farm and embryology unit, where students learn how to incubate eggs and raise chickens.

Governor Shapiro’s first budget made historic investments in K-12 education, empowering students, teachers, and parents to put their children in the best position to succeed. Continuing that momentum in his budget for 2024-25, he proposes continued funding for PA Farm Bill agriculture education, including Agriculture and Youth and Farm to School grants, as well as robust support for Pennsylvania’s Commission for Agriculture Education Excellence and youth organizations and hands-on learning.

Find a map of previous Farm to School and other PA Farm Bill grant recipients in your area as well as details of initiatives to grow and sustain Pennsylvania agriculture.

Learn more about investments in the future of Pennsylvania’s children and in growing a stronger Pennsylvania economy through agriculture in Governor Shapiro’s full budget in brief.

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