by Jill Vigesaa, NDFB Food, Land and People Coordinator
I wonder if you have a love for fresh, REAL whipped cream like I do? When I was young, my father would sometimes bring in a bucket of fresh milk from our Brown Swiss cow (that I had affectionally, but not so creatively, named “Brown Pet!”). I loved to watch my mother pour it into a large glass jar to be chilled. Then, after the milk was left to sit for a while, we would anticipate the jar reappearing icy cold, and watch her skim that thick, rich cream off the top. Yum!
This week I have found the phrase “cream of the crop” coming to mind often. Perhaps the origin of the phrase as I picture it would be hard for people to identify with these days, but we understand it means the best or the top of a group of similar things or people.
It has been my privilege to have six, cream of the crop North Dakota educators attend the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference with me this past week in Saratoga Springs, New York. We have participated in idea sharing sessions with other top educators from across the country, who have shared with us their tools, techniques, and inspiration on how to include food and agriculture as a lens for learning in the classroom. We hopped on buses for several farm tours which were introduced with creative titles like Family Ties & Dairy Buys, Cheese Please!, Farm to Fork with Beef, Tapping into Maple and several others. The New York Dairy Association also made sure that we were well supplied with milk, yogurt, cheese, and ice cream!
I also felt a comment by one of our North Dakota teachers really described this group when she said that it’s so wonderful to be together with other people who are just “here for the kids.” These teachers are all selfless and caring educators who are seeking to learn new ways to engage their students and make their classrooms a real life, learning experience. It’s amazing! And, we had a lot of laughs, made good memories and formed new friendships.
I thank these great teachers for taking time from their busy summer to join us and I thank the ND Ag in the Classroom Program and the NDFB Foundation for their support. It is greatly appreciated! The future of agriculture education is in good hands!