CEW-MR-3-NYFB Feast2aby Elizabeth A. Tomlin
New York Farm Bureau Foundation for Agricultural Education, Inc. hosted fundraising feasts in both the eastern and western part of the state, raising funds to promote agriculture awareness in schools across the State.
“As agriculture is essential to our lives, so is education essential to the future life of agriculture,” said Sandra Prokop, Managing Director for the Foundation. “The funds raised will support agricultural programs, projects, tools and resources created and available through the Foundation that are available and used in every county throughout New York State.”
Prokop reported that many folks who believe in the importance of agricultural education supported the event by contributing to Local Ag Collection raffles, sponsorships, sharing the open invitation with their communities and working to fill the feast with many of the products that were served.
“These are truly wonderful evenings, which include a first-class three-course meal featuring New York agricultural food products and wines,” said Jeff Kirby, Foundation CEO.
Kirby said that the purpose of the Foundation’s “Feasts” is to raise funds to implement and expand the many agricultural education programs and projects available through the Foundation.
“Agricultural Coloring Books” and “Agricultural Facts School Calendars” targeted toward elementary school children are available to schools. CDs containing history of New York agriculture has been created for 7th graders. Poster contests for Ag awareness are sponsored for Pre-K through sixth grade. Adopt-a-Calf Program is reaching into classrooms. “Kiosks”, available for the general public, have been created and further developed. Other agricultural education programs are also available through the Foundation.
“Placemats will be ‘piloted’ in several areas of New York State,” said Prokop. These placemats will depict different segments of agriculture and be distributed to schools.
“These agricultural education efforts are extremely important to help educate New York’s residents about the importance of agriculture to our society, to our economy and to help everyone understand how the food we all eat is produced and where our food comes from,” said Kirby.
Peter Ten Eyck, President of Indian Ladder Farms in Altamont, NY attended the Feast East at the Saratoga National Golf Course. “The Foundation is very important,” commented Ten Eyck. “There are so few farmers left growing food, that we need a large megaphone to reach consumers to be heard! Kids have to be taught the difference between a chicken and a chicken nugget!”
Prokop said the mission of the Foundation is to “inform and educate all New Yorkers regarding agriculture and to increase understanding between the farm and non-farm public. Our goal is to raise the level of public awareness and understanding about agriculture, which will serve to alleviate misunderstandings that can manifest themselves in negative ways and cause unnecessary upheaval within the food system, superfluous regulations, excess costs, and a breakdown within the infrastructure of our communities and state. This understanding will allow the general public to make ‘informed’ choices.”
“The Fundraising Feasts are vital to supporting the important work of the New York Farm Bureau Foundation,” said Dean Norton, President of the NY Farm Bureau. “The money raised goes directly to our education efforts, inspiring children to explore opportunities in agriculture as well as opening the eyes of consumers to the great work happening on our farms today.”
“We sincerely appreciate and thank everyone who has attended, or will be attending, one of our Foundation Feasts to benefit agricultural education!” said Kirby
Find out more about the Foundation program at www.nyfbfoundation.org or email Prokop at sprokop@nyfb.org .