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Blueprint aligns with farm to school goals

Contributed by: Sarah Dornink, MN Agricultural Education Leadership Council (MAELC)

Last spring, the Minnesota Agricultural Education Leadership Council (MAELC) released the 2025 Minnesota Agriculture, Food and Natural Resource (AFNR) Education Blueprint. The Blueprint, created through feedback from nearly 250 individuals, outlines specific goals, strategies, and indicators of success for each AFNR sector over the next seven years. The five AFNR sectors covered include: agricultural literacy, school-based AFNR education, post-secondary AFNR education, teacher preparation in Agricultural Education, and Farm Business Management (FBM).

So what did we learn?  Overall, the Blueprint reinforced the progress MAELC is making towards promoting and expanding agricultural education for the state. It also highlighted four important priorities including:
  • increasing the quality of instruction,
  • increasing the number of individuals involved in AFNR education,
  • improving the understanding of AFNR systems,
  • and ensuring AFNR programs are fully supported.
In addition, we need to continue to bring stakeholders together to work across the AFNR sectors and to increase communication and collaboration between education and the agriculture industry.

MAELC recently had the opportunity to meet with the Farm to School Leadership Team. At the meeting we presented the Blueprint and heard feedback on the strategies that were most relevant to this group. We originally thought of farm to school mostly fitting in the agricultural literacy sector, but we quickly realized there are synergies in nearly every sector of the Blueprint. For example, there may be opportunities to provide professional development to high school agriculture teachers and pre-service educators about farm to school practices. There could also be relationships developed between farm to school participants and FBM instructors. The opportunities are endless, and we hope farm to school continues to be a strong partner for implementing the Blueprint.

There is a LOT of work to do, and MAELC cannot accomplish this on its own. We need stakeholders that are willing to partner or take the lead on various strategies to move them forward. Please take the time to look through the Blueprint and determine where you can best help make a difference to advance AFNR education in Minnesota.
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