Urban Agricultural Event
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Many authors and researchers agree that our youth will benefit from learning about agriculture. “Agricultural literacy is an essential factor for continuing success of the nation. It is important to reach the population when it is most vulnerable and susceptible to learning; this consists of the children of today’s world” (Schmidbauer, Pastor, & Elliot, 2004; p. 2). Ryan and Lockaby suggest that if the population possesses an understanding of agriculture, they are more likely to benefit society because they will be informed and can make decisions based upon that knowledge (Ryan & Lockaby, 1996). The current mission of agricultural education is to prepare and support individuals for careers, build awareness and develop leadership for the food, fiber, and natural resource systems to accurately articulate the vision of the future of agriculture (Case & Whitaker, 1998). Agricultural education takes into account basic agricultural methods, vocabulary and terms, and the ability to understand the impact of agriculture on society. In essence, agricultural education in local schools plays an important role in youth development as it produces capable, knowledgeable, and contributing citizens (Case & Whitaker, 1998). An Urban Agriculture Day (UAD) program, conducted by Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE), was directed towards the 5th grade students of the Lynchburg City Schools (LCS). This report examines a program which educated the youth with hands on learning about agriculture of Virginia and other subjects which fulfilled several requirements of the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) testing. Specifically, using diffusion of innovation theory (Rogers, 2003) as a framework, how do teachers perceive the relative advantage, compatibility, complexity, triability, and observability of Urban Ag Day for the teaching of SOLs.