‘Who Grew My Soup?’

A group of Jamestown students spent a portion of their school day acknowledging Chautauqua County’s strong ties to the agriculture industry.

On Friday, students in Kimberly Knight’s second-grade class at Love Elementary School welcomed Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-Jamestown, who visited in recognition of Agricultural Literacy Week.

A statewide program, Agricultural Literacy Week is an educational component of National Agriculture Week, observed in the classroom, in which volunteers read an agriculture-themed book to first- through third-graders. Students and teachers can also benefit from hands-on lessons and receive follow up activities based on the reading.

This year, Goodell, who has participated in Agricultural Literacy Week in previous years, read from a book entitled, “Who Grew My Soup?” by Tom Darbyshire. The book aims to draw attention to where the food that is consumed by children on a daily basis actually comes from.

“I came down today to help give the kids a greater appreciation of our agricultural industry,” Goodell said, adding that Chautauqua County currently operates more active farms than any other county in the state. “We have a lot of grape farmers and dairy farmers, but we also grow a lot of vegetables around here. So it’s an opportunity for me to share a great story with the kids so they can get a better understanding that the vegetables and fruits they’re eating didn’t come from a can originally, they came from the ground.”

Goodell’s visit was in partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County, an educational nonprofit organization that collaborates with local farmers in order to educate the surrounding area in the benefits of agriculture. According to Ginny Carlberg, community educator, the feedback Cornell Cooperative Extension has received from farmers has indicated one of the best ways to accomplish its mission is to begin that education at the elementary level.

“We feel that this is important to our community, and the students really seem to enjoy it,” Carlberg said. “And because this is a statewide program, it’s connected to the Common Core (Learning Standards); so it’s an excellent thing for the classrooms to participate in. Plus, I think people in general are interested in where their food comes from, so this is a good resource to have.”