Farm Bureau delivers bookcases

Published 9:29 pm Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Michelle Sowerby, left, and Shelley Barlow stock Northern Shores Elementary School’s new learning barn with children’s books on agriculture.

The Nansemond County Farm Bureau has been busy delivering “learning barn” bookcases to Suffolk elementary schools as part of a project to improve agricultural literacy.

Shelley Barlow, a volunteer on the bureau’s women’s committee who delivered five bookcases Thursday, said community sponsors have made possible the project, which aims to increase children’s awareness of the area’s agricultural roots.

“It’s a community effort, but the Farm Bureau coordinated it,” she said, adding each of the schools received 25 books last fall.

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The so-called learning barns are crafted by the Amish in Pennsylvania and come complete with mock barn doors, Barlow said.

“This is something that Farm Bureau women’s committees around Virginia have been doing for years,” she said.

“The whole driving force … is to educate children about agriculture, because we think it’s very important.”

The books aren’t just on traditional farming topics like raising corn, pigs and cattle, but also cover less-obvious subjects, such as landscaping, horticulture and fishing, Barlow said.

“It’s not just the row crops that you see around here,” she said.

Two other committee members delivered bookcases Thursday, and others had been delivered previously, she said.

Taking delivery of a learning barn, Northern Shores Elementary School librarian Michelle Sowerby remarked that the books going in them will make “great teachers’ resources.”

“This is North Suffolk, so they don’t see a lot of the farmers,” she said. “It’s really good to have these materials so that the kids can utilize them,” she said.

“I can attest that the books that they did choose are absolutely wonderful books; I couldn’t have chosen better.”