Maui County Farm Bureau distributes “Ag in the Classroom” video and activity booklet
For the third year in a row, Maui County Farm Bureau brought the farm into more than 50 classrooms in Maui County.
As part of its popular “Agriculture in the Classroom” program, in partnership with County of Maui and Office of Economic Development, MCFB distributed 1,855 educational booklets to 19 schools across Maui this spring.
Featuring lessons from local farmers, ranchers, and agriculture educators, the AIC program is all about sharing knowledge of local agriculture with second-graders.
Since 2006, MCFB’s AIC program has taken students on an annual field trip Upcountry to the heart of Maui’s agriculture community at Haleakalā Ranch. For the past two years, in lieu of the regular field trip, teams from Haleakalā Ranch, Hawaiian Electric, College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources and the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College’s Master Gardener Program, Bayer, and Maui Soil & Water Conservation Districts collaborated and came up with a “virtual field trip”: an educational video and a fun, colorful activity booklet with six lessons.
The lessons are: “Watersheds,” presented by Jordan Jokiel, Haleakala Ranch; “Healthy Soil,” presented by Jessica Talbot, Sabrina Medina, Kelly Butler with Maggie Kramp, Maui Soil & Water Conservation Districts; “Canoe Plants,” presented by Eric DelMaria, Master Gardener Program, CTAHR; “Parts of a Plant,” presented by Brian Hopper, Bayer; “Powered by Fruits,” presented by Shayna Decker, Hawaiian Electric; and “The Role of Stock Dogs on a Ranch,” presented by Greg Friel, Haleakalā Ranch.
Although nothing can beat in-person instruction AIC farmers, ranchers and agriculture educators hope the virtual version of their lessons still provide enjoyment and inspiration.
“In the present day, we have a disconnect between the consumer and the producer,” said Greg Friel, vice-president / livestock manager at Haleakalā Ranch. “This Ag in the Classroom program starts to expose these students to the various segments of the agricultural industry and will help to stimulate thought into the products that are available and how they are produced. Hopefully, they continue to delve into the practices and products that are available and will help them in making their food purchasing decisions in the future.”
“Mahalo to the Maui County Farm Bureau for providing our keiki with the opportunity to learn about the significant role local agriculture plays in our islands,” said Shayna Decker, communications manager at Hawaiian Electric. “We’re honored to be a long-standing AIC partner as we all work together to build more sustainable, resilient communities.”
The AIC information is created for second-graders in all schools: public, private or charter, or at-home learning. In addition, a number of booklets will be given away to keiki through special drawings at the 13th Maui AgFest & 4-H Livestock Fair on Saturday, June 4.
MCFB’s signature event, AgFest is a celebration of the essential role that agriculture plays in Maui’s economy, environment and lifestyle. Admission to AgFest is free; parking is $5. The event takes place at War Memorial Special Events Field from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
“We are grateful to our ag partners who made Ag in the Classroom possible this year,” said Warren K. Watanabe, executive director of MCFB. “Nothing can beat hosting our annual field trip at Haleakala Ranch with its beautiful setting and panoramic views. But we are happy we were able to continue to provide the experience through the booklet and video, and we look forward to seeing everyone in person at AgFest.”