RICHMOND—Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom is offering free activity resource kits to educators as they begin the 2021-22 school year.

The Creative Agriculture Resources for Education kits were developed by Virginia AITC in partnership with several agriculture commodity boards, such as those representing cotton, peanut and dairy farmers. The kits’ variety of books, lesson plans and activities were assembled to help educators teach about Virginia agriculture and farming in fun and creative ways.

“Providing educators with resources that give accurate information about agriculture adds to their toolbox of items for the year,” said Tammy Maxey, AITC program director. “For example, a poster hanging in the cafeteria illustrating how Virginia farms produce the essentials of a school breakfast or lunch will create a daily connection for students.”

The CARE kits will equip teachers with coloring books, puzzle books, easy-to-follow recipes and examples of commodities produced in Virginia. There is even a wildflower seed packet that teachers and students can plant.

“The materials for this year are super awesome,” said Beth Davis, a special education teacher at Chesterfield County’s Alberta Smith Elementary School who received one of the CARE kits. “We use the state map to locate regions where the crops are grown. I appreciate all materials that have been provided and will continue to use them in my classroom. Hands-on learning is how my students learn best, and having actual materials makes such a difference.”

Maxey explained that AITC partners with agriculture groups each year to develop activities and resources related to Virginia’s No. 1 industry. The projects aim to inform students about the plants and animals grown and raised in the state and their uses; career opportunities in agriculture; and agriculture’s value to the state economy.

“AITC has great partnerships with agriculture producers, including a number of the commodity boards,” Maxey said. “They value opportunities to connect consumers with facts about their products.”

The free kits are available to public, private and homeschool educators, who can register to receive a kit at bit.ly/3tal2PO. A link to the registration page also is available on the AITC website and Facebook page.

For additional resources, lesson plans and information about educator grants and development opportunities for educators, visit va.agclassroom.org.