The New York Farm Bureau Foundation for Agricultural Education, Inc. recently received a grant from the Northeast Agriculture Education Foundation to carry out a Mini Food & Farm Experience Program. The Mini Food & Farm Experience (Mini FFX) will target high school and middle school career counselors, modeled after our extremely successful FFX Program. The FFX is an annual two-day in-depth workshop tailored as an agricultural education experience created for a target audience, with the mission to develop extensive agricultural understanding, networking and connections. The “mini” program will be a one-day experience, focusing on middle and high school career counselors.
This high-level program will be held in three areas of NYS, where we have an increased challenge in reaching the audience in our full program and will provide educational outreach and enable further interaction. The mini version locations will provide an opportunity for many of the career counselors in our larger population centers to participate, due to the lessened time and travel considerations. The Mini Food & Farm Experience will provide for twenty-five target group members, who will apply for inclusion in the Experience. In addition to target group participants, the group roster will include two or three individuals who are actively engaged in farming. These individuals will be able to interact positively and communicate with participants within the Experience program. The costs of attending the Mini FFX will be covered for food, included tour transportation, and workshop speakers and materials.
Attendees will be encouraged to engage in continuing local interactions. This project will bring numerous New York agricultural sector organizations together to work and collaborate on the Experience program. A stronger overall unit of representation will be a result. Directly, the project serves farmers and their rural communities throughout the Northeast. Career counselors provide direction for the next generation, and the more they know and understand the hundreds of opportunities, the better advantage the agricultural industry has to reach that generation and interest them in the industry in a role of diverse definitions. The inclusion of two farmers in each program provides additional leadership education that effectively prepares these current and future leaders for responding to industry challenges for the most effective and positive results. On another level, through collaborative partnerships built upon the strength of this program, the expertise and assets of a variety of agriculture organizations within the agricultural sector will be harnessed and brought together. This strengthens the agriculture industry through common bonds, purpose, and objectives, thereby positively impacting and enhancing the industry’s unity and economic viability. The Food & Farm Experience provides information to career counselors, which grows the base of agriculture-career students who will bring their talents to the industry in a variety of diverse roles.