Tuesday, February 18, 2014

AgriCorps: A new frontier of learning


The Liberian Flag
In America, we are fortunate enough to have food ready when needed. McDonald's, Starbucks, grocery stores, are all in walking and driving distance for most of us. Everything is easily accessible in America. Other countries don’t have the luxury of food being available every day. Over 1.4 billion people live on less than $1.25 per day. 70% of those people are living in extreme poverty in rural and agrarian (meaning that they depend on agriculture as its primary means for support and sustenance) areas.  With the world’s population growing, reaching 9 billion people in 2050, food security should be our top priority. Blaze Currie, Executive Director, works with a program similar to the Peace Corps, where students who have a degree in Agriculture, can travel for a year to teach in primary and secondary schools in a developing country about agriculture education. This amazing program is called AgriCorps

Ever heard of the saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks?” Agricorps took notice to the fact that over 60% of the world’s population was under 25 years of age, which showed them to focus on young learners.  They hoped by teaching the younger population, that knowledge would trickle upwards to the older population. The goal was to eliminate the outdated farming traditions that have been passed down for generations in these villages.  Next they developed a model of what they wanted to be taught in all of the different counties within each country where AgriCorps was stationed. There had to be a school where instruction would be in a garden or a field, have a home project where the students could plant their own seeds and compare it to their parent’s gardens, and then have 4H/FFA development in the classroom. Ultimately the model looked like this:
Example of the AgriCorps
3 Circle Model
Does that look familiar to one we already have based in the United States for FFA? If you said YES than you are correct! Here in the US, the FFA established their 3 circle model that entails an SAE project, classroom instruction, and FFA leadership club. AgriCorps built upon the existing model and tailored it towards different countries.  

Starting in August of this year, 12 volunteers will be stationed in Liberia for a 1 year commitment. They will each be 30 minutes away from one another so that if they wanted, they could talk to each other about lessons and potentially have competitions in the different counties! 

If you would like to learn more AgriCorp you can go to the following website, http://agricorps.org  and explore this awesome opportunity!
To learn more about starting on the path to having a career that makes a positive impact on the lives of students across the globe by becoming an agricultural educator, please contact the agricultural teacher education program at teachag@psu.edu. Follow us on Twitter at TeachAgPSU, on Facebook, or on our blog!

Olivia Murphy-Sweet
Student Blogger

Teach Ag! Avenger
Twitter Handle @OSweetMurph
2016 Agricultural Education Student Teacher
   



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