Farm books donated

Published 10:04 pm Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The wonders of farm machinery. How every ingredient in a chocolate-chip cookie came from a farm. The path cotton takes from dirt to denim.

Shelley Butler Barlow, the chairman of the Nansemond County Farm Bureau women’s committee, shows off a book about gardens at Hillpoint Elementary School Monday. Books about agriculture were donated to Suffolk’s elementary school libraries.

All these topics and more are covered by new sets of books donated to Suffolk elementary school libraries on Monday by the Nansemond County Farm Bureau women’s committee.

Members Shelley Butler Barlow, Jean Walden and Cathy Walton visited the elementary school principals’ meeting at Hillpoint Elementary School to drop off 11 sets of the books. Oakland Elementary School already received a set last year.

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“We’re very excited,” said Barlow, the chairman of the committee. “We hope these books will help children, who are more and more removed from agriculture, learn more about the food they eat and the clothes they wear and the farmers who grow the crops that supply those items for them.”

The books — about $3,000 worth — were funded by donations from local businesses and the Monsanto Company’s America’s Farmers Grow Communities grant program. They are part of the committee’s efforts for Agriculture in the Classroom, a national program that promotes greater understanding of agriculture through education.

There are about 25 to 30 books per set, Barlow said. They cover a range of agricultural topics explained in colorfully illustrated, kid-friendly ways.

“Some children really don’t know,” Walden said. “They think peanuts come out of a bag.”

Barlow said it is important for the children to know where their food and other products, such as clothing and accessories, come from.

“There’s many things in your life that come from a farm,” she said. “Food is the most obvious one, but it goes much further than that.”

The libraries also eventually will receive “Learning Barns,” shelving designed to look like red barns to display the books and other agricultural materials, Barlow said. The committee is still raising money to purchase the barns.