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New York Agriculture in the Classroom


Agricultural Literacy Week 2018

Before We Eat: From Farm to Table
Before We Eat: From Farm to Table
By Pat Brisson and Illustrated by Mary Azarian

We are proud to feature a book that displays the vast opportunities and diversity that New York agriculture encompasses this year. Students will be taken on the journey from farm to table to understand different aspects of agriculture and the many possible careers involved. This is a captivating glimpse on what it takes to bring the food we eat to us in order to nourish our bodies and spirits.

From the busy hub of New York City, to the mountains of the Adirondacks, and to the fertility of the Finger Lakes our state is expansive and encompasses all types of agricultural industries. Careers and post-secondary education opportunities are abundant in traditional and developing food-centric industries. Agriculture contributes over $37 billion to the New York State economy and ranks in the top ten in the nation for yogurt, apples, grapes, calves, and onions, among other products. These products and industries create careers essential to the food system that are not always initially thought of: arborists, soil engineers, animal geneticists, butchers, aquaculturists, truck drivers, grocers, and more.

STEM careers and post-secondary opportunities of all kinds are highlighted with vivid illustrations. It will be essential for our students to understand the importance of agriculture as an economic driver in communities across New York, and develop an awareness for future career possibilities. All lessons, activities, and companion materials are aligned to the Common Core Learning Standards.

Educator Resources

Lesson Extensions

  • Have your students identify some of the different careers in the book and explore their favorite one. Students could then identify specific duties, education, and pathways for this career.
  • Ask your students to identify someone in their life that takes part in the food system and write a letter thanking them for their role (i.e. cafeteria worker, farmer, parent, etc.).
  • Explore the food system with other New York agriculture products. Visit our website for a list of products and some examples.

Teacher Reference

Lesson Plans