Emily Stone


agricultural literacy, litercy, elenetary education, farm, farm life, food sources, National School Lunch Act, USDA, Food and Nutrition Service, FNS, National School Lunch Program, NSLP

Document Type



“Americans, as a whole, were at least two generations removed from the farm and did not understand even the most rudimentary of processes, challenges, and risks that farmers and the agricultural industry worked with and met head-on every day.” This quote perfectly describes the mindset of agriculture stakeholders in 1981 as they began to realize the drastic steps our education system had taken away from using principles of agriculture in K-12 education. As they saw it, Americans were moving out of rural America, away from farms, and becoming less connected to the food they daily consumed. Simultaneously, the education system did nothing to preserve the use of agriculture principles as tools for teaching. If they were worried in 1981, just imagine what they would say if they saw American society in 2023! Today, most school-aged children are very limited in the knowledge of their food’s origin. The lack of attention given to agriculture in schools is especially problematic when combined with the number of food systems issues the next generation is bound to face. This article seeks to demonstrate the food systems-related dangers facing the next generation and explain the benefits of teaching agriculture literacy to school-aged children; to describe the origins of the Agriculture in the Classroom program and evaluate its success; and to propose new ways to improve and incentivize agriculture literacy’s presence in K-12 schools.