Southampton Intermediate School family and consumer sciences teacher Christina Cassel earned the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture’s $1,500 White-Reinhardt Scholarship to attend this year’s National Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC) Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas from June 18–21.
During the summer conference, billed as “AgVenture in the Natural State,” Cassel will gain new agricultural skills which she can pass on to her students by delivering agriculturally-based content in context with core curriculum subjects—in this case, family and consumer sciences (the modern equivalent of home economics). AITC supports state programs by providing a network that seeks to increase agricultural literacy through PreK–12 education. The organization defines an agriculturally literate person as “one who understands and can communicate the source and value of agriculture as it affects quality of life.”
“It is an honor to be a recipient of the White-Reinhardt Scholarship,” Cassel says in the Southampton School District announcement. “With the knowledge gained from the conference, I can enhance my classroom lessons on promoting agriculture, and students will gain skills that will prepare them for real-life responsibilities at home, at school and in the workforce.”
Cassel has taught eighth-graders at Southampton Intermediate School for the past four years. An East End native, agriculture has always been a part of her life. Her parents, as dairy and poultry farmers, instilled in her a love of agriculture and taught her the importance of understanding food systems. She went on to study food service and management, and culinary arts at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. She is an ardent supporter of organic and local farming and has taught her students how to grow food in the school’s garden, and how use that food in culinary dishes.
Family and consumer sciences not only offers students valuable life skills, such as gardening and cooking, it deals with the relationship between individuals, families, communities and the environment in which they live. The AITC conference should further enhance Cassel’s ability to connect local kids with the East End’s agricultural roots and the growing community supported agriculture and farm-to-table movements.
Learn more about Agriculture in the Classroom and the AITC conference at agclassroom.org.