Valerie Murbarger, a second-grade teacher at Albion Grade School, has found a unique way to integrate agriculture into her classroom — Thank a Farmer Fridays.
Approximately eight times a year, based on the school’s calendar, the theme of a Friday is “Thank a Farmer.” Students study an agricultural commodity, learn where it comes from, how it is grown and how it gets from farm to table.
“The idea for ‘Thank a Farmer Friday’ came from a teacher in the state of Georgia that did something similar,” stated Murbarger. “I met her while attending the National Ag in the Classroom Conference in Maine.”
After studying the commodity, the students then make a food associated with that commodity. Some of the foods the students make include apple dumplings (apples), sugar cookies with icing (dairy) and waffles (maple syrup). The foods are then eaten by the students during snack time.
After enjoying their food, students write about the commodity and the ingredients in the recipe they made. Thank a Farmer Fridays are cross-curriculum lessons. Murbarger integrates reading, science, social studies, math, writing and economics into the lessons. Additionally, the students learn life skills associated with making their own food and proper hygiene.
“I am thankful to Modern Woodman’s of America and a local sorority for awarding me funds to help purchase the nonconsumable items needed to make the foods to educate students about the agricultural commodities,” said Murbarger. “I feel that knowing where your food comes from and how to make your own food are essential lessons for today’s youth.”