Monday, May 23, 2016

Visit From Miss America 2016 Betty Cantrell Planned for First Peas to the Table Contest Winner

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 23, 2016 – The winner of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture’s First Peas to the Table Contest is Carrie Smith’s third-grade class at Cason Lane Academy in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Smith’s classroom wins the grand prize – a visit from Miss America 2016 Betty Cantrell, who joined the Foundation in launching the First Peas to the Table Contest in February.

“I’m confident that students will enjoy hearing from Miss America 2016 Betty Cantrell about her platform of ‘Healthy Children, Strong America,’ which encourages children to make healthy choices and stay physically active,” said Julie Tesch, executive director of the Foundation.

First Peas is a new national competition for schools that encourages children in kindergarten through fifth grade to plant, raise and harvest peas.

Student teams competed to grow the greatest amount of peas (measured in cups) using no more than 20 pea seeds during the official contest period, March 1 – May 16. Smith’s class harvested 2 cups of peas, as did Sophie Walsky’s Elbert County 4-H Cloverbuds in Elberton, Georgia. The tie between the two teams was broken with a random drawing, after which the Tennessee school was declared the winner.
Thirty-one schools submitted pea measurements, although even more schools participated. Some schools’ peas were not ready to harvest at the end of the contest.
“Getting their hands dirty is the best way for children to learn! We are excited that through this contest, we were able to provide a fun, hands-on learning opportunity for students across the country,” Tesch 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.

Students competing in the contest were allowed to grow peas in any manner including in a hot house, hoop house, indoor pot, planter or outside garden. In conjunction with the contest, Tesch continues to encourage 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.

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