Four Teachers Win Agriculture Grants

Four Teachers Win Agriculture Grants
Posted on 10/30/2019

Elementary Students to See, Touch, Feel & Taste Science Lessons

Four Suffolk elementary school teachers recently each received $500 mini-grants through the Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom program.  Statewide, grant projects will provide 25,000 children and youth with an agriculture or gardening experience. Projects include topics such as gardening, careers, animal agriculture and leadership development.  

In Suffolk Public Schools, winners included Alexandria Parsons, a first-grade teacher at Northern Shores Elementary School; Angela Mills, a first-grade teacher at Oakland Elementary School; Charla Mathes, a second-grade teacher at Nansemond Parkway Elementary School; and Beth Langston, a fourth-grade teacher at Pioneer Elementary School. 

At Pioneer Elementary, the school’s established community garden will be enhanced with the purchase of new plants and a garden tiller-cultivator.  The Mustang Garden is used by all grade levels as they apply math and science skills with some dirt under kids’ fingernails.  Students will plant vegetables, herbs and flowers in three different seasons – fall, winter and spring.  

At Northern Shores Elementary, the school’s garden will also be revitalized to provide students at all grade levels the opportunity to see science in action. The Dolphin Garden is an edible garden to encourage healthy eating as well as to build life-long skills and knowledge. The grant money will provide gardening supplies, soil, seed pods, water hoses, and blueberry bushes.

Similarly at Oakland Elementary School, the grant money will perk up the school’s popular learning garden.  Raised bed borders and student benches will be updated, and a tabletop stand and light kit will enable students to continue their plant investigations inside during the winter season.  The learning garden also helps students understand the growth of native plants while exploring Virginia Studies.

At Nansemond Parkway Elementary School, classroom science lessons will sprout to life with the addition of more hands-on agriculture projects to learn about sustainable farming, local history, stages of matter, plastic pollution, and the life cycle of live caterpillars.  The grant will provide a school year full of science experiments as well as resources to use in social studies, reading, writing, and math. 

Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom educational materials will be used with both gardening projects, including the lessons “Dirt Baby,” “Sprouting Success,” and “Garden Chef Cookbook.”  Some of these Suffolk school projects will be helped by the local Master Gardeners, Virginia Extension Service, and Healthy Suffolk as well as parent and community volunteers.   

Agriculture in the Classroom is a national program that promotes greater understanding of agriculture through education. The Virginia Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom is a nonprofit organization that receives financial and administrative support from Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. For more information visit or email or call (804) 290-1143. 

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