NYS Veterinarian, Dr. Shannon Carpenter, reads to youth at Paul BD Temple School in Falconer.

NYS Veterinarian, Dr. Shannon Carpenter, reads to youth at Temple School in Falconer

Agriculture Literacy Comes to Chautauqua Schools

JAMESTOWN, NEW YORK (April 13, 2023) -- Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County’s Agriculture Program is dedicated to providing opportunities for the public to interact with our local agriculture industry. In celebration of National Agriculture Week (March 19th – March 25th), area elementary students were able to participate in the New York Agricultural Literacy Week, locally coordinated by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County.

This year, 2,500 elementary aged students at 15 different locations in Chautauqua County enjoyed listening to a book entitled “Tomatoes for Neela” written by Padma Lakshmi, Illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal. This year students heard the story of tomatoes preservation and sauce making through the experiences of Neela, a young girl who loves cooking with her Amma and writing down the recipes in her notebook. It makes her feel closer to her paati who lives far away in India. On Saturdays, Neela and Amma go to the green market and today they are buying tomatoes to make paati’s famous sauce. But first, Neela needs to learn about all the different kinds of tomatoes they can pick from. And as Neela and Amma cook together, they find a way for paati to share in both the love and the flavors of the day.

Author Padma Lakshmi takes young readers on an intergenerational journey full of delicious flavors and fun food facts that celebrates a family’s treasured recipes, and illustrator Juana Martinez-Neal brings this circle of women to life with vivid detail and warmth. Tomatoes for Neela lovingly affirms how we can connect to other cultures and build communities through food.

Careers and post-secondary education opportunities are abundant in traditional and developing food-centric industries. Agriculture contributes over $37 billion to the New York State economy and ranks in the top ten in the nation for yogurt, apples, grapes, calves, and onions, among other products. These products and industries allow New York producers to explore all varying scales of marketing and selling niche markets, direct to consumer selling, food processing, wholesale, and more.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County coordinated Agricultural Literacy Week across Chautauqua County and regularly extends their services to celebrate and promote agriculture. Local Coordinator and Executive Director Emily Reynolds thanked local volunteers and donors. “Ag Literacy Week is always a highlight of our programming here at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County. We appreciate the opportunity to highlight our incredible agricultural industry, and this program helps to bring together members of our agricultural community. This year was an exciting opportunity to highlight our area farmers and provide opportunities for our county’s young students to interact with a member of the agricultural community while also having the chance to learn more about the safe, wholesome products our local farmers work hard to produce every day.”

Donors that made this event possible were Dave Munch, Sara Toth, Alyssa Porter, Dan Smith, Elizabeth Rankin, Shelly Wells, Farm Credit East- ACA, Jamestown Public Market, Janet Forbes, JM Joy Farms - Jim and Rosie Joy, John and Carol Hardenburg, Richard & Janice Jozwiak, Olde Chautauqua Farms, Chautauqua County Farm Bureau, and Novel Destination Book Emporium.

Donations exceed expectations and have allowed for a book to be donated to all twenty-nine Chautauqua County Elementary School libraries and twenty-seven Community Libraries.

Volunteer readers that shared their agricultural experiences with the area’s students were Alyssa Porter,

Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, Brian Northdruft, Carol Hay, Cassadaga Ag Students, Cassandra Skal, Chautauqua Dairy Ambassadors, Cheryl Wahlstrom, Clymer Ag Students, Colton Reynolds, County Executive Wendell, Danielle DeJoy Moss, Edwin Lacen, Emily Reynolds, Ginny Carlberg, Hailey Laramie, Heather Gregory, Heather Woodis, Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist, Jan Schauman, Janet Forbes, Jennifer Phillips-Russo, Jodi Gray, Lauren Sharp, Lindsey Crisanti, Linnea Haskin, Mary Ryder, Matt Overfield, Molly Brown, Randy Henderson, Raylene Kwilos, Sara Toth, Shannon Carpenter, Sharon Reed, Sharon Rhinehart, Shelly Wells, and Wendy Alexander.

The Ag Literacy Program is one of many programs offered by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County (CCE-Chautauqua) in line with the County’s Agricultural Enhancement Plan, CCE-Chautauqua is a community based educational organization, affiliated with Cornell University, Chautauqua County Government, the NYS SUNY system, and the federal government through the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. For more information, call 716-664-9502 or visit our website at www.cce.cornell.edu/chautauqua. Cornell University Cooperative Extension provides equal program and employment opportunities.

Last updated April 13, 2023