Farmers In The Classroom: Kane County Offers To Pay Farmers To Teach at JJC

Farmers In The Classroom: Kane County Offers To Pay Farmers To Teach at JJC

The Kane County Juvenile Justice Center’s Farm to School Program is launching a new teaching series called “Farmers in the Classroom,” designed to introduce students to experiences and careers in agriculture by learning from the professionals.

To kick start this new series, Kane County will be recruiting an active farmer who will be paid to speak with the JJC students about their experience and production activities, and share a short video tour of the farm where they operate.

Kane County will contract with a qualified farmer to participate in this classroom series. The compensation for services will start at $1,500 for a farmer able to fulfill the program deliverables outlined below. The total time commitment for the selected farmer is expected to be about four to six hours total.

There is some flexibility within the program to negotiate the final payment amount.

Farm Tour Video

Since the Juvenile Justice Center students do not have the ability to participate in field trips, the contracting farmer will be asked to prepare a short video that provides a guided tour of their farming operation.

The video does not need to be a high quality production. For the purposes of this program, it would be perfectly acceptable to record the video with a smartphone.

If you have previously recorded videos of your farm, it would also be acceptable to use those if they fulfill the objectives of the program.

Program Deliverables & Objectives

1. Deliver a presentation to three separate classes at the JJC School (25 to 30 minutes each).

Kane County is seeking a knowledgeable farmer who would be happy to share the story of their farming experience with a group of students. This shall include three, 25-30 minute presentations led by the farmer to groups of students ages 10 to 17.

Due to COVID restrictions, the selected farmer will be presenting to the classroom via Zoom (video teleconference). The JJC School students are grouped into three units, requiring the selected farmer to deliver their presentation to three separate classes.

All three of the presentations could be made sequentially within a morning or afternoon during regularly scheduled classes. Suggested presentation / discussion subjects could include:

  • How did you start out in farming? Does your family have a history of farming?
  • What types of crops/products do you grow?
  • How much acreage do you farm on?
  • Where are your products sold?
  • Does farming provide you with a meaningful source of income?
  • What is most challenging and most rewarding about farming?
  • What advice do you have for a young person who is looking to gain farming experience?

2. Record a video tour of your farm (5 to 10 minutes in length) that shows where and how different activities take place on the farm.

The intent of the video is to allow students to see what is happening on your farm in a typical day – it does not need to be professionally edited. Feel free to use a smartphone or whatever recording device is most accessible. You may provide some narration during the video to help explain what the students are seeing. The video will be shown as part of your classroom presentation, so it might be helpful to explain what the students will be seeing in the video.

3. Respond to questions about your farm from students or staff after the presentation / video (5-10 minutes).

Scheduling Presentations

To accommodate the rigorous schedules of farmers during the summer, Kane County will allow the participating farmer the added flexibility to schedule his or her classroom presentations on short notice. This will allow a farmer to pick a time to present on a day when the weather might otherwise prevent them from performing regular field work.

The selected farmer will likely be given a two- to three-week period within which to schedule presentations. The farmer will be asked to provide at least a day or two of advanced notice to the program team to finalize arrangements for the presentations.

Each presentation shall last about 40 minutes, including the video tour and student Q & A.

While it would be preferable to have the head farm manager/operator give the classroom presentations, county officials recognize that a head operator may not have the capacity to do so. It would be acceptable for the farm manager/operator to delegate the responsibility for presenting to a capable assistant or staff member.

Compensation

The selected farmer shall be compensated with funds received through the USDA Farm to School Grant Program. It is anticipated that the selected farmer will be awarded a contract of $1,500 to $1,800 for services, with some flexibility for further negotiating.

Kane County’s team is committed to providing the Juvenile Justice Center’s students with authentic and engaging opportunities to learn from farming and agricultural specialists. Accordingly, the county intends to provide fair compensation for the time and contributions of the selected farmer.

As instructed below, please provide your preferred compensation amount for the requested services.

Application Instructions

If you would like to be considered as a presenter for the Farmers in the Classroom Series, please respond to TansleyMatthew@co.kane.il.us with the following information.

  1. First and last name:
  2. Farm business / organization name:
  3. Farm address:
  4. Phone number:
  5. A brief summary of your farming experience (2-3 sentences):
  6. Describe any experience speaking with students or hosting farm tours (not a requirement, but helpful):
  7. Your preferred compensation amount for services.

Application responses should be submitted no later than 5 p.m. June 18, 2021.

Staff will contact one or more of the qualified applicants by phone. Once a final determination has been made, the chosen applicant will be asked to sign an agreement with the county committing to provide the requested services.

If you are not selected to participate this season, your application info will be retained and you may be contacted for future opportunities to participate in the Farmers in the Classroom Series.

Program Timeline

  • Registration deadline: 5 p.m. June 18, 2021.
  • Follow-up calls to qualified farmer applicant(s): June 20-21.
  • Selected farmer to review and sign service agreement by Monday, June 25, 2021.
  • Selected farmer to deliver video and classroom presentations before July 31, 2021, or a date mutually agreed upon.

About the JJC Farm to School Program

The Farm to School Program was developed to provide JJC youth with positive, experiential learning opportunities related to agriculture and food growing. The program blends a classroom curriculum incorporating lessons on horticulture, nutrition, and the mechanics of local food systems.

The school’s outdoor teaching garden allows instructors to involve students in managing garden plots and demonstrating horticultural techniques. And with the support of teachers and cafeteria staff, students are able to eat the foods that they grow as meal ingredients or classroom samples.

The program has continued to expand since its launch in 2017 with the support of Kane County Fit for Kids, USDA Farm to School Program, Kane County Regional Office of Education, Illinois Farm to School Network, University of Illinois Master Gardeners, the Kane County Farm Bureau, and other partners.

Any questions about the Farmers in the Classroom Program and application process can be directed to Matt Tansley at tansleymatthew@co.kane.il.us or 630-232-3493.