State Reports

State Summary 2016 — Florida

State Contact

Ms. Becky Sponholtz
Florida Agriculture in the Classroom
P.O. Box 110015
Gainesville, FL 32611-0015
P: 352.846.1391

Classroom Resources

  1. "STEMming Up Gardening for Grades" - Began development of its third school garden curriculum series calledSTEMming Up Gardening for Grades" which includes 14 secondary lessons and two activities that use STEM concepts. It's expected to debut in summer 2017.
  2. Teacher Workshops/Farm Tours - FAITC held two regional teacher workshops and farm tours, one collaborative school garden summer workshop and 17 local school garden workshops around the state, and had waiting lists for each one. Altogether, 780 teachers attended the workshops, who will reach an estimated 30,000 students.
  3. Grants - FAITC distributed 66 $500 school garden mini grants in addition to its Teacher Grant and Volunteer Grant programs. Teachers who receive grant money are required to present at least one lesson from the school garden curricula and submit and pre and post-test classroom average from assessments at the end of each lesson.
  4. Drive Through Florida: Vegetables - FAITC, in partnership with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, developed the second in a series of non-fiction Agriculture Literacy Day books that educate K-5 students about Florida agriculture. The 2016 book took students on a tour of Florida’s vegetable industry using a red pickup truck namedOle Red." Altogether, FAITC's more than 1,500 readers read in 4,000 classrooms to 75,000 elementary students.
  5. Growing up Healthy with Food from Florida Activity newspaper – Updated and reprinted eight-page student activity newspaper. Discovering Florida’s Growing Treasures newspaper – Revised eight-page student activity newspaper and printed. You can view both at Began development on new beef focused STEM activity newspaper to debut spring 2017.

Major Program Accomplishments or Outputs

Florida Agriculture in the Classroom, Inc. continued to use the second curricula in its school garden series ‘Gardening for Nutrition’ in 2016. ‘STEMming Up Gardening for Grades,’ the third book in its school garden series, is in the editing phase, book expected to be completed summer 2017. In addition, its teacher workshop/farm tours have very popular and have resulted in waiting lists for each one. This year we held our first collaborative two-day school garden teacher workshop with the Florida Department of Agriculture and University of Florida IFAS Family Nutrition Program. We had 88 teachers and it was such a success that it will be holding two in 2017. It also wrote the second in a series of non-fiction Agriculture Literacy Day book calledDrive Through Florida: Vegetables," which covers Florida's vegetable industry and features an animated red truck namedOle Red" who takes students on a tour of the state. FAITC decided to launch a non-fiction series using photographs rather than illustrations to tie into the emphasis onreading for content" andreading non-fiction text." Each year's book will feature a different aspect of the Florida agriculture industry.

Major Program Impacts or Outcomes

Florida Agriculture in the Classroom, Inc. (FAITC) estimates it reached more than 8,000 teachers and 214,000 students in 2016. It reached more than an estimated 57,000 teachers and 500,000 students with materials orders and hits to its website during 2016. The organization believes there is growing awareness and interest in the program by teachers and volunteers. In addition, it developed and distributed new materials, allowing it to grow the number of new teachers it introduced to its program. Interest in programs such as Florida Agriculture Literacy Day continued to grow and helped boost FAITC numbers as well. In addition, popularity of its teacher and volunteer grants programs grew in 2016.


Becky Sponholtz
June 2013: Present Education Program Manager; Florida Agriculture in the Classroom, Inc.; Gainesville, FL
July 2006 – June 2013: Agriscience Teacher; Keystone Heights Junior/Senior High School; Keystone Heights, FL
August 2004 – June 2006: Agriscience and Veterinary Assisting Teacher; Fort Pierce, FL
2000 - Bachelor of Science – Animal and Dairy Science; Auburn University; Auburn, AL
2002 – Master of Agriculture; Auburn University; Auburn, AL