A volunteer reads to a group of 2nd graders in Tompkins County during Ag Literacy Week 2006. Ag-in-the-Classroom
Image by Sandy Repp

A volunteer reads to 2nd graders during Ag Literacy Week 2006.

Teaching Agriculture in Schools

Established in 1985, New York Agriculture in the Classroom (NYAITC) is a partnership of Cornell University, the NYS Department of Ag & Markets, the NYS Education Department, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and the New York Farm Bureau. Its 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. 

Visit the NY Ag in the Classroom to learn more about statewide activities and to learn about agriculture-themed books that have been featured in other years.

NY Ag Literacy Week: March 20-24, 2023

In celebration of New York Agriculture, NY Ag in the Classroom is coordinating the 19th Annual NY Agriculture Literacy Week, taking place March 20-24, 2023. This program is open to Elementary School Administrators, Educators, and those running community programs for groups of 1st-3rd graders. 2,300 books were donated last year while 75,000 elementary students participated in an experiential learning activity.


The selected book for 2023 is Tomatoes for Neela, written by Padma Lakshmi and illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal. Neela loves cooking with her amma and writing down the recipes in her notebook. It makes her feel closer to her paati who lives far away in India. On Saturdays, Neela and Amma go to the green market and today they are buying tomatoes to make Paati’s famous sauce. But first, Neela needs to learn about all the different kinds of tomatoes they can pick from. And as Neela and Amma cook together, they find a way for Paati to share in both the love and the flavors of the day.

Become a Volunteer Reader

Educators / volunteers throughout New York will visit local elementary schools during Ag Literacy Week to read the selected book to students and engage the youth in a paired hands-on activity. This year AITC will be providing a hard copy of the book, as well as a planting kit for each child! At the conclusion of the day's activities, the book will be donated to the school library for students and teachers to use throughout the school year. One planting kit provides enough supplies for 30 students. The reading and activity in the classroom takes approximately 45 minutes.

For more information or to register as a volunteer, click here.


Emma Jenks
4-H Educator/Club Manager
(845) 677-8223 x 108

Last updated March 20, 2023