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Nov. 28, 2017
Northwest Missouri State University and its School of Agricultural Sciences have received a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to support agriculture faculty and students in developing a partnership with middle schools throughout the region to support an awareness and appreciation for food systems.
The Agriculture and Food Literacy Initiative (AFLI) will develop an experiential-based classroom toolkit for middle school students to showcase the importance of food systems and draw linkages between food production and agricultural career clusters.
The grant funding, which provides $150,000 over two years, will help agricultural sciences and professional education faculty at Northwest develop and implement the initiative with Northwest agriculture students participating in a new food systems technology course.
The grant also will provide professional development to regional K-12 educators about agriculture advocacy, provide resources to participating schools to visit the University’s R.T. Wright Farm and cover a portion of the expenses for food systems technology students to visit New York City during a three-day field experience to explore and learn about one of the largest and most complex food systems in the world.
“Constrained resources has become the new normal in public higher education,” Northwest Grants Coordinator Tye Parsons said. “As a result, competition for these NIFA grants – and nearly every federal grant – has been exponentially increasing. Only 19 of these particular NIFA grants were accepted nationwide last year, so an award of this size really speaks both to the merit and to the value of the project to the USDA.”
Northwest’s School of Agricultural Sciences is one of the largest of its kind in the Midwest, and about 12 percent of the University’s undergraduate population is enrolled in an agriculture major offered within the School.
Headquartered in the Dean L. Hubbard for Innovation, the School also offers a Horticulture Complex and the 448-acre R.T. Wright Farm to provide students with hands-on, profession-based experience. The Wright Farm, which is managed by professional agriculture specialists and agriculture faculty members, serves as a critical resource for hands-on, profession-based learning for agricultural science students while providing an opportunity to link the University with middle-school students to further agricultural and food systems literacy in the region.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468