Mission: Pennsylvania Friends of Agriculture Foundation, a charitable organization supported by the PA Farm Bureau, was created in 1986. Our mission is the preservation and promotion of agriculture – the largest of the Commonwealth’s industries. Specifically, the Foundation seeks to: enlighten the public about farming and agriculture; create educational programs for children who may have no other exposure to agriculture; train teachers on agricultural concepts while helping them meet their own continuing education requirements; fund scholarships for post-secondary agriculture studies; and promote career opportunities in agriculture.
Results: -Our Mobile Ag Ed Science Lab program has brought our hands-on science lessons to over 1 million students across Pennsylvania since its start in 2003 -Ag on the Go, now in its 2nd year, is reaching more urban, low-income schools that we have not been able to get to with the Mobile Ag Lab in the past -Educator's Ag Institute is now accepting up to 60 educators, including those who have been to the event in the past, and offering them 5 days of professional development, lodging, meals, curriculum, and more for a minimal fee of $150 -Ag Literacy Week, which started in March of 2017, reached over 7,000 students in one week alone, bringing ag into the classroom through engaging literacy lessons
Target demographics: We educate the public, especially children, about the importance of agriculture in our every-day lives
Direct beneficiaries per year: over 100,000 students and educators
Geographic areas served: communities and schools throughout Pennsylvania
Programs: The Mobile Ag Ed Science Lab program, now in its 14th year, reaches over 100,000 elementary and middle school students across the state each year. Our hands-on, STEM-based lessons teach students about the importance of agriculture through the scientific method. We now offer over 30 curriculum choices, and have six labs that travel across the state. Ag on the Go brings the activities from the lab directly into qualifying Title 1 schools (those that receive at least 65% free and reduced lunch) which might otherwise not be able to take part in the Mobile Ag Lab program. Ag on the Go is designed for grades 3 through 5 and we currently visit qualifying schools in Philadelphia, Allentown, Harrisburg, York, and Pittsburgh. Additionally, each summer we offer Educator’s Ag Institute. This comprehensive and information-packed week of teacher training prepares educators to go back to their classrooms with the knowledge, materials and methods needed for educating their students about agriculture. The teachers receive a sponsorship which includes a hotel stay, meals, professional development, tours, farm visits, and an extensive supply of curriculum and materials to bring back to their classroom. Teachers are also able to earn Act 48 hours and/or graduate credits through this program. The Foundation continues to support three different agricultural related scholarships. The E. Chester Heim Scholarship is available to students at Penn State and Delaware Valley who are pursuing agricultural education. The Richard W. Newpher/Farm Bureau Endowed Scholarship is for graduate students at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine who are dedicated to large animal studies. The Richard Mains Mobile Ag Ed Science Lab Scholarship, in honor of Richard Mains, a long-time supporter of the Foundation, is also available for schools that need support in hosting the Ag Lab. Finally, we have our newest addition, Pennsylvania’s state-wide Ag Literacy Week. With the help of volunteer readers, including FFA and 4H groups as well as those who work directly in the ag industry, we are bringing ag into the classroom in a whole new way. Our book of the year is purchased by volunteers, read to a class of students, then donated to the classroom. A follow-up activity is then done with the students to reinforce the concepts from the story, including the source of their food and careers in ag.