Academic journal article The Agricultural Education Magazine

Destination: Agricultural Literacy

Academic journal article The Agricultural Education Magazine

Destination: Agricultural Literacy

Article excerpt

Most of us have a story to tell concerning agricultural literacy, it starts out like this "I have a friend who did not know that... (something you think they should know, I'll finish the sentence) brown eggs are the same as white eggs, flowers become fruit, cheese is made of milk, and a personal favorite, cows have to have a calf each year to produce milk. These are very basic food related concepts, but there are more complex concepts that need to be understood as consumers have questions about the production and processing of their food, clothing, and shelter. Their questions are usually related to concepts in science which oftentimes have social implications.

Agricultural literacy has been defined and nuanced by many researchers (National Center for Agricultural Literacy, 2017). The current definition used by the National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization (n.d.) states that "An agriculturally literate person understands and can communicate the source and value of agriculture as it affects our quality of life." This definition captures the ability of a person to make meaning (understanding) from concepts in science, technology, engineering, math and economics and apply or synthesize these concepts contextually within agriculture.

In an effort to educate K-12 students and their teachers about agriculture (rather than in agriculture which is the level sought by school-based agriculture education programs), the National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization, the National Center for Agricultural Literacy, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) supported the development of the National Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix. The National Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix, or more simply, the Matrix, is an innovative approach to increase agricultural literacy among K-12 students.

Specifically, the Matrix (https://agclassroom.org/matrix) is an online collection of educational resources that are relevant, engaging, and designed to meet national education standards in science, social studies, nutrition, and career education while at the same time meeting the National Agricultural Literacy Outcomes (Spielmaker & Leising, 2013). The Matrix provides instant access to nearly 400 lessons and over 600 supportive companion resources. …

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