“Thank an American Farmer or Rancher,” a Thanksgiving-themed activity for pre-K to first-grade students, helps teachers explain where food comes from, courtesy of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture. Through this activity, teachers also ask students to write, draw or create thank you letters or cards for America's farmers.
A free lesson plan and a letter from a farmer, suggestions for books to read, class discussion ideas and more are available online.
“Most Americans have never been to a farm and didn't even grow up near one, but they are ready to learn more about where their food comes from,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall. “‘Thank an American Farmer or Rancher’ is a fun classroom activity that helps young learners make the connection between farms and ranches and the food they eat.”
Classroom ideas include:
- Complete a free sample lesson from Farm a Month and read a free sample letter from a pumpkin farmer, followed by a discussion about farming in America.
- Pull up a picture of a Thanksgiving Day plate or ask students to name common holiday foods such as turkey, cranberries, green beans, potatoes and stuffing, then discuss the agricultural origins of each item.
- Have students in groups research online to discover where ingredients such as pumpkins, butter, sugar and wheat come from. Give each group one ingredient; don't tell them what the final product is going to be. Have students present where their ingredient is from and then have the class as a whole guess what the recipe is for!
- Invite a local farmer into your classroom to discuss how he or she produces food, fiber or energy.
Letters written by students as part of the activity will be given to real farmers and ranchers in January at AFBF's Annual Convention.