AITC Grants Available for Virginia Educators for Agricultural Learning | New

 AITC Grants Available for Virginia Educators for Agricultural Learning |  New

RICHMOND—Educators interested in incorporating agricultural learning into their curricula can receive help from Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom Educator Grants.

With children further removed from agriculture and the sources of their food and fiber than ever before, TIAC makes it a priority to provide educational experiences that help students better understand the importance of agriculture in their daily life.

That’s why TIAC offers grants to K-12 educators who integrate agricultural concepts and experiences into their classrooms.

The organization has more than $30,000 for the 2022-2023 school year to support classroom farming experiences. Teachers and other organizations like 4-H clubs and FFA chapters that work with schools and parent-teacher associations can apply for up to $500 for agriculture-related initiatives.

“Virginia AITC encourages educators to start the year with agriculture,” said Tammy Maxey, executive director of the Virginia Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom. “Providing opportunities for educators and youth to learn about planting, farming, animal care and hands-on learning experiences engages students. Through TIAC’s grant program, thousands of young people, from elementary to high school, have the chance to discover a variety of agricultural careers needed to feed their communities and the world.

The deadline for grant applications is October 14. However, applications received by August 19 will be eligible for TIAC’s advance decision. This expedited notification allows educators to begin their projects in time for schools to open. Educators who complete the application early will be notified by September 9.

Grant projects can take place at school or virtually, covering topics such as learning gardens, STEM integrations, or providing unique agricultural experiences for students.

Previous grant projects included an initiative at Bessie Weller Elementary School in Staunton where students learned the importance of water quality through a hands-on activity. In Fairfax County, students from the Liberty Middle School Engineering Club developed a hydroponic system to grow their own produce.

In Augusta County, an AITC grant funded the purchase of equipment at the Valley Career and Technical Center for students to improve the operation of their greenhouse, teaching them job skills and the importance of technology. Additionally, students at Evergreen Elementary School in Chesterfield County created a “decomposition buffet” to experience the benefits of composting, and many applied what they learned to their own home composting collection. , Maxey said.

To learn more about educational activities available through AITC Virginia or to apply for a grant, visit virginia.agclassroom.org/teachers/grants.

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