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New book talks about where food comes from

Virginia students can learn about agriculture and the food process — from the ingredients in their lunch boxes.

They will read about the source of their favorite lunch foods in the Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom’s 2021 Book of the Year: “How Did That Get in My Lunchbox?” by Chris Butterworth.

“This book takes a unique peek inside a student’s lunchbox and shares the true farm-to-table journey,” Tammy Maxey, Virginia AITC programs director, said. “Readers can visit farms around the country to learn the source of some of their favorite foods — from fruits and vegetables, to sandwiches and desserts.”

Volunteers will present books to elementary schools and participate in virtual readings during the annual Agriculture Literacy Week, planned for March 15-19.

“While this Agriculture Literacy Week may look different from previous years, AITC and our many volunteer readers remain committed to sharing agriculture’s story with the next generation,” Lynn Black, Virginia AITC education coordinator, said.

Now in its 11th year, Virginia AITC began celebrating Agriculture Literacy Week in 2011. It is the program’s largest educational event, with approximately 2,000 volunteers reading to 60,000 children statewide. The week provides students with an opportunity to learn about agriculture, farming and the sources of their food.

“With only 2% of Americans living on the farm, most children will not experience farm life as part of their upbringing,” Black said. “Agriculture Literacy Week helps bridge this gap by providing children with knowledge of where their food comes from and connecting them with members of their local agriculture community.”

The “How Did That Get in My Lunchbox?” bundle is available for purchase at $10 each, which includes the book, an educator’s guide and poster. Order forms are located on the AITC website.

Agriculture Literacy Week volunteers include county Farm Bureau volunteers, Farm Bureau Women’s and Young Farmers committee members, FFA and 4-H participants, partners from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and other state agencies, and members of other agricultural organizations and businesses.