A special guest attended Day 1 of the Springfield Feed the World workshop: Dr. Tracy Kitchel. Dr. Kitchel is Professor and Chair of the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership (ACEL) at The Ohio State University. He participated in hands-on lab activities and also attended the industry dinner that evening.
Kitchel said he came hoping to see teachers engage with agriculture in new ways. Although he’d expected to see mainly agriculture teachers, he was pleasantly surprised to see so many teachers from other areas of science at the training, and interpreted the mix to be a very good thing.
He particularly appreciated the hands-on style of the workshop. Kitchel said, “Teachers are professionals—they are capable of pulling things together if given the materials. Doing so in a team approach gave teachers confidence to make sense of the content and share ways they might modify the lessons.”
Kitchel commented, “What this program does that many others do not is to place a certain expectation on the “other” (non-agricultural) teachers to bring their own content to life through agriculture. This is powerful for schools that don’t have an Agricultural Education program; it’s even more powerful for schools that have an agriculture teacher AND a biology teacher, both reinforcing agricultural and biological principles but from different perspectives or approaches.”
The first day of the workshop concluded with a farm dinner involving industry people, farmers, Ohio Corn & Wheat board members, and the teachers. Kitchel noted, “Now, more than ever, our ever-growing, diverse population wants to be more engaged with their food production even though they are removed from it. Thursday night’s dinner was a beautiful representation of how people can and should engage about their food – by breaking bread together, asking questions and sharing perspectives.”