Miss America 2016 Betty Cantrell and Julie Tesch, executive director of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, introduced the First Peas to the Table Contest. This new national competition for schools encourages children in kindergarten through fifth grade to plant, raise and harvest peas this spring.
Cantrell and Tesch announced the contest – including official guidelines and rules – at the American Farm Bureau Federation's Young Farmers & Ranchers Leadership Conference in Kansas City, Missouri.
"It was an honor to have Miss America 2016 Betty Cantrell join us in launching the First Peas to the Table Contest," Tesch said. "We know from experience that getting your hands dirty is the best way for children to learn! Through this contest, we aim to provide fun, hands-on learning opportunities for students across the country," she said.
The contest highlights the Foundation's latest Book of the Year, "First Peas to the Table," by Susan Grigsby. The Foundation created the contest to help students understand the importance of healthy foods and agriculture in their everyday lives, and to increase their understanding of how plants grow.
The student team that grows the greatest amount of peas (measured in cups) using no more than 20 pea seeds during the official contest period will be declared the winner and receive the grand prize – a visit from Cantrell. Peas may be grown in any manner including in a hot house, hoop house, indoor pot, planter or outside garden.
The contest runs March 1 – May 16. An official entry form, guidelines and rules are available at http://www.agfoundation.org/projects/first-peas-contest-2016.
In conjunction with the contest, Tesch encourages educators to invite local farmers and ranchers to speak in their classrooms about food production and the importance of agriculture. Contacting your county Farm Bureau office is a good way to find local farmers.