The grant was facilitated by the Kentucky Agriculture and Environment in the Classroom (KyAEC), which previously worked with the Alliance to provide clubs agriculture literacy resources and programs.
“We live in a time when many adults believe food comes from the store and chocolate milk comes from brown cows, so it’s important to teach kids early in life about where food comes from and how it is produced,” Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said. “Boys and Girls Clubs provide wholesome activities and positive experiences for thousands of children across the Commonwealth. They are the perfect partners to help us educate young people about agriculture and its importance in our everyday lives.”
Each participating club received funds to support their garden and cooking activities over the summer. Four clubs were selected to participate in an agriculture literacy day program this July, in which the KyAEC and the KDA will provide the Mobile Science Activity Centers and several other hands-on learning activities to help children learn how agriculture affects their daily lives.
“Thanks to the generosity of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and the ‘Ag Tag’ program, we were able to offer additional support for agriculture and food literacy to Boys and Girls Clubs, an organization that has been making a positive impact on the lives of youth and teens for more than 100 years,” said Jennifer Elwell, KyAEC executive director. “This is the second year we have worked with the Kentucky Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs, and I expect the program will only continue to grow.”
The Kentucky Small Grain Growers Association (KySGGA) in 2016 approached KyAEC to develop an education program for the participating clubs. Farmer leaders had been helping their local clubs and became interested in increasing agriculture literacy in clubs statewide. Their financial support, as well as support from the Kentucky Beef Council, helped KyAEC initiate a relationship they hope to continue.
The Kentucky Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs also believes this is a positive partnership that will help them achieve their mission.
“As an out-of-school time provider we have access to the youth who need us most, and programs that will help youth develop positive outcomes and achieve great futures. Our partnership with Kentucky Agriculture & Environment in the Classroom Inc. and Kentucky Department of Agriculture has enhanced our gardening and cooking club programs at Boys & Girls Club locations across Kentucky. It’s educational activities like these that reinforce the program lessons through firsthand experiences to explore and learn about Kentucky agriculture,” said Shelley Douthitt, Kentucky Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs Director. “At Kentucky Boys & Girls Clubs, we know that helping young people live healthier lifestyles gives them a better chance of improving their overall well-being.”
The agriculture literacy day programs will be held at clubs in Bowling Green, Franklin, Ft. Knox, and Glasgow. Commissioner Quarles will visit the Ft. Knox Devers Youth Center on July 19 to engage with Boys and Girls Club members as they learn about Kentucky food and farms.
For more information about the Kentucky Agriculture and Environment in the Classroom, visit www.teackyag.org. To learn about the Kentucky Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs, visit www.kyalliance.org.