Schools Participate in NY Agricultural Literacy

MIDDLETOWN – Cornell Cooperative Extension Orange County participated in the 19th annual New York Agricultural Literacy Week in Orange County Schools. Master Gardner volunteers, community members, and staff read Tomatoes for Neela by Padma Lakshmi to elementary classrooms. This book took students on an explorative journey of how food is the center of celebrations in families and cultures and although we may be different, many of the same ingredients are found in the dishes we love.

The CCE Orange County program participated in 20 Orange County schools and reached over 1690 children in 91 kindergarten through third grade classrooms. Thanks to our fluent Spanish-speaking volunteers and staff, we were able to read to numerous bi-lingual classes in the county this year.

In addition to the book, students benefited from an interactive lesson from the volunteers sharing their experiences in agriculture. The children were very excited to talk about their favorite vegetables, trips to the farmers market, and the types of tomatoes they had eaten! Each participating school received a copy of the book to keep in their library. Donations from NYS Agriculture in the Classroom provided kits so each student could grow their own tomato and basil plants.

Cornell Cooperative Extension and its partnerships provide programs for Orange County residents on youth and family development; nutrition, health, and food safety; community and economic vitality; and agricultural sustainability through Cornell based research.

Committed to Orange County, we design programs to meet local needs to enable people to improve their lives and communities. For more information call Cornell Cooperative Extension Orange County at 845-344-1234 or visit their website at

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