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Agricultural Literacy Week

Agricultural Literacy Week ~ March 18-22, 2019


How Does Agricultural Literacy Week (ALW) Work?

In celebration of New York agriculture, volunteers throughout the state will read a book with an agricultural theme to second graders. Students and teachers will also benefit from hands-on lessons and receive follow up activities. The book will be donated to the school or classroom library with a bookplate recognizing the donor and NY Agricultural Literacy Week. 2,000 books were donated last year while thousands of second graders participated in fun and educational activities.

2019 Agricultural Literacy Week begins Monday, March 18th and runs through Friday, March 22nd.

Start to Finish the program takes about 30 minutes per classroom.

  1. Literacy Volunteers work with their county coordinators to set up visits to their local schools.
  2. Volunteers read to students in first through third grade classrooms.
  3. Following the reading, volunteers conduct an activity with students and share their experiences in agriculture.

All activity materials are prepared by NYAITC and schools get to keep a copy of the book for their school or classroom library.

Click here to find your County Coordinator and their contact information.

About This Year's Book

On the Farm, At the Market

On the Farm, At the Market

Written and illustrated by G. Brian Karas

We are proud to feature a book that displays the unique markets and diversity that encompasses many aspects of New York's agriculture focusing on food production and direct marketing. Students will be taken on the journey to local rural, suburban, and urban farmers' markets seeing a strong, interconnected community by following the food production and sales processes of three different farms. The book also explores the interconnected community of farmers and eaters, and how the food sold at the market comes together to create the meals we share.

Through this story we will be able to showcase the depth of industries and diversity that New York agriculture encompasses and highlight what agriculture looks like in each region of the state.

From the busy hub of New York City, to the mountains of the Adirondacks, and to the fertility of the Finger Lakes our state is expansive and encompasses all types of agricultural industries. Careers and post-secondary education opportunities are abundant in traditional and developing food-centric industries. Agriculture contributes over $37 billion to the New York State economy and ranks in the top ten in the nation for yogurt, apples, grapes, calves, and onions, among other products. These products and industries allow New York producers to explore all varying scales of marketing and selling: niche markets, direct to consumer selling, food processing, wholesale, and more.

On the Farm, At the Market highlights the story of agriculture with vivid illustrations and a community-centric storyline. Students will understand the importance of agriculture as an economic driver in communities across New York, and develop an awareness for where their food comes from and its journey.

Educator Resources

2019 Educator Resource Guide

This resource includes the farmers market lesson plan, vocabulary, K-2 domain connections, and extension opportunities to further learning about agriculture as an economic driver.

Farmer's Market Activity Cards

The activity cards are available to print. They are an essential file for the featured activity explained in the Educator Resource Guide and will provide tangible connections for students during the lesson.

Vocabulary Quizlet

Teachers are encouraged to use our Before We Eat Quizlet to prepare their students for their volunteer reader's classroom visit.

Newspapers in Education Resources

Use these resources and read three profiles of New York State farmers, use the provided crossword puzzle and word search to reinforce vocabulary, learn about different farmers markets, and find classroom-friendly recipes.

Lesson Extensions

  • Have your students identify some of the different careers in the book and explore their favorite one. Students could then identify specific duties, education, and pathways for this career.
  • Ask your students to identify someone in their life that takes part in the food system and write a letter thanking them for their role (i.e. cafeteria worker, farmer, parent, etc.).
  • Explore the food system with other New York agriculture products. Visit our website for a list of products and some examples.

Teacher Reference

  • Growing Food
    This curriculum module is designed to teach science through study of the food system. The module's driving question — How does nature provide us with food? — frames students' investigations as they learn about critical ideas in science: the cycling of matter and the flow of energy. Students engage in hands-on investigations of photosynthesis, explore food webs, discuss and debate managing agricultural systems, and more.

Agricultural Literacy Week Related Lessons

  • FoodMASTER: Vegetables
    Students will measure the weight and length or circumference of various vegetables. After studying the vegetables, students will classify the vegetables based on plant parts and explore chemical reactions from cooking colored vegetables in acidic and basic water. Students will also use a variety of vegetables to prepare soup.
  • Fruit and Vegetable Bingo
    Students will recognize the names of different fruits and vegetables and understand why they are important.
  • Food Miles
    Students will explore the economic and environmental benefits of buying locally grown food.
  • Grocery Store Problem Solving (Grades 3-5)
    Students will use basic mathematical skills to solve problems related to the cost of food while integrating geography and nutrition to enhance learning. Activities include analyzing grocery ads, assessing the nutrition and cost of meals, and exploring diets around the world.
  • It's a MOO-stery! (K-2) | It's a MOO-stery! (3-5)
    Students will be introduced to the dairy industry and will make observations about how historic tools such as a butter paddle, cheese press, and milk tester can be used to process milk on a dairy farm.
  • Let's Go Shopping (Grades K-2) | Let's Go Shopping (Grades 3-5)
    Students will learn the differences between needs and wants, goods and services, and producers and consumers by participating in a grocery store simulation, exploring the source of grocery store items, and designing their own products to sell.
  • FoodMaster: Milk and Cheese
    Students will taste test four different milks while comparing color, texture, taste and cost. In addition, students will read the four milk food labels and complete a table comparing calories, fat and calcium found in the milks. The class will make cottage cheese by heating milk to the proper temperature and adding an acid (vinegar) to speed up the separation of curds and whey.
  • Mushroom Multiplication (6-8)
    Learn about edible mushroom cultivation and how one mushroom multiplies into many more! Create a spore print, and explore ecology concepts by experimenting with mold and yeast growth and researching species of fungi.
  • My Life as a Fruit or Vegetable
    The purpose of this lesson is to provide students with an opportunity to enhance writing skills while simultaneously learning about the production and distribution of fresh produce.
  • Weighing in on Egg Labels, Supply, and Demand
    Students will apply a basic understanding of the laws of supply and demand, learn about different types of egg laying farms, and recognize the impact labeling has on consumer choices.


  • Farmers Market
    Rise and shine it is market day! This book was developed with fresh vegetables and fruits in mind! The story recounts a family trip to the farmers market through the eyes of a small girl. The setting is southwestern as is the scenery.
  • To Market, To Market
    Alternating between story and fact, this picture book follows a mother and son to the weekly market. As they check off items on their shopping list, the reader learns how each particular food was grown or produced, from its earliest stages to how it ended up at the market. To Market, To Market is a book that shines awareness on the skill that goes into making good food.


  • Food Doesn't Grow in the Supermarket!
    This DVD, narrated by children, follows "The City Guy," an adult who thinks he knows where food comes from (the grocery store), as he visits three different farms to learn where food really comes from and what it takes to produce it. Interesting even for those who have experience in farming and food production! This video is available on DVD or YouTube. Order this DVD online from agclassroomstore.com.
  • From the Field to the Farmers Market
    Travel with nine-year-old Mason as he shows what it's like to be a part of a farm family and bring produce to the Farmers Market! Mason and his family are part of the Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA), and they have been selling at the farmers market for over 20 years. See how their produce is grown and sold at the farmers market.
  • How Does it Grow? Video Series
    This video series follows food from farm to fork. Learn more about potatoes, asparagus, mushrooms, cranberries, garlic, cauliflower, spinach, oranges and more. These videos are a great way to introduce secondary students to food science, cooking, and to increase understanding of the source of our food.
  • "Cheese Science-As Gouda as TV Gets" Video Series
    The Utah Education Network (UEN) website has a series of 25 three-minute video clips about cheese and food science. The videos teach science, chemistry, and physics principles in addition to highlighting many careers in related fields.
  • Consider the Source- Cheese
    Use this 11-minute video clip to show the behind-the-scenes story of making cheese at the Tillmook Cheese factory in Oregon. The video addresses milk components, dairy cattle, milk testing, as well as each step in milk and cheese processing. This video also highlights many careers for each step of cheese production.
  • Hilmar Cheese Company Virtual Video Tour
    10-minute video for elementary students to learn about the dairy industry. They visit the dairy farm and the processing plant where they learn about pasteurization and cheese making.
  • Farmers Market Federation of New York
    Find a farmers market near you, download resources, and more with this website.

Agricultural Literacy Week Archive

Now in its 14th Year, Agricultural Literacy Week has helped to bring agriculturally themed books and resources into thousands of classrooms and libraries throughout New York State.
Click here to explore past years books and resources.

  • Before We Eat: From Farm to Table
  • The Grapes Grow Sweet
  • The Apple Orchard Riddle
  • Weaving the Rainbow
  • Who Grew My Soup?
  • The Beeman
  • The Honeybee Man
  • Seed, Soils, Sun
  • Chicks & Chickens
  • The Tree Farmer
  • Sugarbush Spring
  • Empire State Investigator
  • Lily's Garden
  • Extra Cheese Please

Sponsorships & Donations

Would you like to fund the purchase of one or more books?

The books are $12 each and will be donated to the school library after being read.

Contact your county coordinator for more details on where to send your donation. Donors will be recognized on a special bookplate. You may choose to have your donated book sent to a specific school, or to read it yourself to your local school.

For County Coordinators

Access documents and information regarding ALW »