Since 2009, Almond Board of California (ABC) has responded to the growing interest in local and regional foods through the use of an educational program called “An Almond Story.” In concert with California’s Agriculture in the Classroom program, ABC’s program’s objective is to educate children in the state’s elementary schools, so they can better understand where their food comes from and expand their knowledge of agriculture, the environment and natural resources.
Forging a personal connection to the people who grow the food on their plates makes students excited to eat more nutrient-rich foods. And many California students are indeed personally tied in some way to the almond industry, making almonds more than just a snack on a plate.
ABC offers an information sheet on almond production, “An Almond Story” activity book and a video for teachers to use in the classroom. The video and activity book are designed to work together, and feature Auntie Bee’s story about how an almond is grown, the history of the almond industry and the many uses of almonds.
Over the course of 45 minutes, students get a glimpse of the journey almonds take from the orchard to the table. The experience starts with a short 6-minute animated movie about the almond life cycle covering bloom, pollination, hull split, harvest, dormancy and how important almonds are to California and the economy. Next, students participate in a hands-on activity about pollination. And finally, every student receives the activity book, “An Almond Story.” The activity book reviews the concepts from the video including the life cycle of almonds, pollination, jobs in agriculture, nutrition basics and delicious recipes with almonds as the special ingredient.
At the end of the presentation, students understand where almonds come from and how those almonds get in their hands. The presentation is very interactive and covers core curriculum concepts in science and nutrition.
Teachers who would like “An Almond Story” activity books for their classroom can contact Rebecca Bailey at firstname.lastname@example.org. And a classroom presentation with guest almond industry speaker may be available for some schools.
Since the program’s inception in 2009, ABC has shared more than 60,000 copies of “An Almond Story” activity book to students across the Central Valley.