Students learn about agriculture at the A&T FarmBy Ivan Saul Cutler & Afrique I. Kilimanjaro / December 9, 2022
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Members of the Greensboro (N.C.) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated recently escorted 16 high school juniors on a tour of the North Carolina A&T State University Farm. The students attend The A&T Four Middle College at N.C. A&T, an all-male public high school located on the university’s campus. The purpose of the program was to provide the students tangible insight regarding the importance of agriculture and agribusiness.
The day began with an orientation session at the farm’s Pavilion. The students participated in an educational program where they learned about the importance of agriculture. They received a historical grounding on the innovative contributions African Americans have made in the profession.The Greensboro (N.C.) Chapter of the Links, Incorporated’s initiative, “Connecting the Threads,” teaches students about African American history, art and the significance of storytelling via quilting in African American culture. According to chapter member Jackie Jeffries, the partnership with A&T will incorporate technical fields such as digital coding for quilt designs and patterns as a multi-generational approach to partner with students via quilting workshops or circles. Based on the initiative’s theme, “Working the Land,” Jeffries said, “The decision to work with N.C. A&T State University was easy. We wanted to bridge STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) into STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics).”
Dr. Antoine J. Alston, professor and associate dean of Academic Studies in the College of Agriculture & Environmental Studies provided students with a candid history of African American inventors and innovators whose accomplishments helped improve and advance American agriculture.
“It is imperative that young people and particularly young African Americans know the significant contributions that African Americans have made to the development of agriscience and the global agricultural Industry, contradicting the stereotypical images often associated with people of color and agriculture as a whole,” said Alston.
Following Alston’s presentation, the students and members of the Links hopped on a tractor-pulled open trolley for a tour of the vast, bucolic farm. Stops included presentations at the poultry unit featuring chickens and turkeys, pig pens and other livestock areas.
Upon return to the farm Pavilion, the students engaged in processing their experience. Members of the Greensboro (N.C.) Chapter of the Links, Incorporated discussed their partnership with the students, which will culminate in a quilt students will design using digital coding. Once completed, the quilt will be exhibited on the A&T campus. Jeffries said, “The quilt will tell a colorful and dramatic story of the Black experience in agriculture passed down through generations.”
Jeffries explained that each team of students will select an African American inventor or innovator in the field of agriculture that they heard about in Dr. Alston’s presentation. The students will research that person and create a design/quilt block. “The design will include a picture of the person, facts about their contribution, and a border/background design,” said Jeffries.
For more information on the activities of the Greensboro (N.C.) Chapter of the Links, Incorporated visit https://www.facebook.com/GreensboroChapterofTheLinksInc/.
For more information about the College of Agriculture & Environmental Studies at North Carolina A&T State University, visit: https://www.ncat.edu/caes/.