History of New York Agriculture in the Classroom
Established in 1985, New York Agriculture in the Classroom (NYAITC) is a partnership of Cornell University, the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, the NYS Education Department, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and the New York Farm Bureau.
Our mission is to foster awareness, understanding, and appreciation of how we produce food and fiber, what we eat, and how we live, by helping educators, students, and their communities learn about and engage with agriculture and food systems.
We work with pre-K through high school teachers, pre-service teachers, Cornell Cooperative Extension and other community educators, farmers and producers, volunteers, parents, and community partners to increase agricultural literacy in New York State.
What is Agricultural Literacy?
Less than 2% of our population actually produces food on farms, while nearly 20% of our nation's workforce is in some way, shape, or form involved in the processing, marketing, distribution, and sales of food and fiber products. We all rely on agriculture every day--from food we eat, fibers our clothes are made of, and other materials we use each day to agriculture's relationship with our environment, economy, and society. And yet, little is taught in most schools about agriculture and food and fiber systems. NYAITC aims to increase agricultural literacy while supporting opportunities for hands-on teaching and learning, meeting state standards, enhancing student achievement, and connecting with community.
What is New York Agriculture in the Classroom?
NYAITC envisions a day when educators, students, and communities in New York:
- Recognize the connection between agricultural production and the daily consumption of food and fiber products
- Appreciate the economic, social, historical, and scientific significance of agriculture in our local and global society
- Understand the complexity of today's agriculture and food systems
- Explore the many career opportunities in all areas of agriculture and food systems
See how the Agricultural Education Outreach team is providing educational opportunities that develop informed consumers and help students of all ages to become agriculturally literate.
Specialty License Plates Support NY AITC
In 2003, Lt. Governor Mary Donohue, along with State Agriculture Commissioner Nathan L. Rudgers and State Commissioner of Motor Vehicles Raymond P. Martinez, unveiled New York's "Ag Tag" custom license plate, the proceeds from which will benefit the New York Agriculture in the Classroom Program.