Will Fett, Executive Director
Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation
The Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation (IALF) — with a primary focus on youth — has been growing agriculture literacy. In 2017 the organization and its partners impacted more than 213,600 students throughout Iowa.
“It is an exciting time to be involved in agriculture right now,” said IALF chairwoman Joyce Hoppes, promotions director for the Iowa Pork Producers Association. “Students have the chance to pursue exciting careers in agriculture and Iowa is at the heart of agriculture innovation, but that starts with knowing what opportunities are available. It is this next generation that is going to be challenged with feeding the world’s growing population and finding new energy sources through raw agriculture assets. It’s important to have a core understanding of those opportunities and the issues that will set them up for future success.”
IALF serves as a central resource for educators and volunteers who want to teach Iowa’s students about agriculture. The mission is to educate Iowans, with a focus on youth, regarding the breadth and global significance of agriculture. IALF believes it is important for all Iowans to understand the essential role agriculture has in their lives. Programs like FarmChat®, student readers like Iowa Ag Today, and books like the My Family’s Farm series have all played a key role in expanding the reach of agriculture literacy in Iowa. There are more than 120 lesson plans and more than 150 other resources available on the website.
“We have been amplifying agriculture literacy efforts for four years and work with a volunteer network across the state to continue to expand on those efforts,” said IALF executive director Will Fett. “Some regions in Iowa have successful, long-standing Agriculture in the Classroom programs and others are just starting. IALF supports those existing programs and helps ensure that all Iowa communities have access to high quality educational programs that apply STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) concepts through agriculture. IALF has taken some of those best practices from existing agriculture education programs, incorporated business needs related to STEM, and presented a unified approach with benchmarks from a statewide perspective.”
IALF provides robust teacher and volunteer training including online and in person courses and educational materials aligned with the Iowa Core and STEM. Workshops for teachers and students are available throughout the school year and into the summer months. Information and resources are available at IowaAgLiteracy.org.