DEFB News

Delaware Farm Bureau Foundation’s ‘Ag Lab’ has reached 10,000 kids

The Delaware Farm Bureau Foundation has reached its 10,000th child in experiences with its Ag Education Mobile Classroom, or “Ag Lab.” The milestone includes visits to summer camps and schools since its debut in 2014, but does not include thousands more young people who stopped by during events such as the Delaware State Fair or the annual Healthy Kids Day at Trap Pond.
DFB Foundation Manager Laura Simpson explained, “The Ag Lab is a traveling classroom that serves to educate young people about farming and agriculture. It is a fun, educational tool that allows kids to see the different aspects of agriculture and try it out for themselves.”
Students learn about the wide variety of careers in agriculture, how food gets from the farm to their table, the importance of healthy eating and the five food groups, and how farming successes and failures affect the economy. They have a chance to feel the difference in the various types of soil we have in Delaware, and then plant a seed in a cup to take home to see what it is like to grow their own food.
To create the mobile lab, the Foundation modified a trailer donated by the Delaware Department of Agriculture, using its two rows of cabinets as work stations for students. In order to make the classroom “mobile,” the Foundation purchased a truck to pull the trailer with help from sponsors which included Delaware Electric Cooperative, Farm Credit, Hoober Inc., T.A. Seeds, Delaware FFA, Willis Chevrolet and Nationwide.
The Ag Lab hit the road in June 2014, beginning in Wilmington. Partnering with Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware, the Ag Lab visited summer camps as far south as Dagsboro.
In 2016, with the help of two summer interns, the Ag Lab was able to reach thousands of children. A successful pilot program launched last spring took the Ag Lab to elementary schools with lessons that fit into the fourth grade curriculum. Students enjoyed the program activities and teachers recognized the importance of the information shared.
In the fall, the Foundation offered visits from the Ag Lab at a nominal cost to schools and traveled to seven schools across the state before cold weather hit. The Longwood Foundation recently provided a grant which will pay for heating the trailer, which will extend the season into the winter months next year.
Delaware Farm Bureau Foundation continues to seek sponsors willing to help defray operational expenses. The Foundation is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization, headquartered at the Delaware Farm Bureau office, 3457 DuPont Highway, Camden, DE 19934. Contact Laura Simpson at (302) 697-3183 for more information.
Seven schools took advantage of the Ag Lab experience in 2017, and reservations are now being taken for the spring 2018 schedule. Requests are on a first-come, first-served basis. Contact Simpson at the number above.
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Established in 1944, the Delaware Farm Bureau has become one of the strongest grassroots farm organizations in the First State. DFB is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that serves as a unified voice for Delaware farmers. DFB’s 8,000 farm families and associate members are united for the purpose of preserving agriculture as an industry and a way of life.
 
DSC_0406Photo caption (#406): Weather permitting, students finish their Ag Lab experience outdoors, where they plant a radish seed in a cup to take home, grow and harvest in about a month.

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Delaware Farm Bureau 3457 S. DuPont Highway Camden, DE 19934