State Reports

State Summary 2015 — Arizona

State Contact

Ms. Monica Pastor
University of AZ College of Ag & Life Sciences Cooperative Extension
4341 E. Broadway Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85040
P: 602.827.8217

Classroom Resources

Pizza Kit - Yavapai County Extension

AZ Beef Council lessons My Cheeseburger came from a farm, Food Safety, Beef in a healthy diet, Beef is Greener than you thought, Ranchers care about cattle,

AZ Farm Bureau Lessons Fruit and Veggie Ag Mag Arizona Specialty Crops Lesson Packet (15 lessons) Farm Friday Fun with AZ Ag Curriculum Package Marketing and Media Mayhem: The Label Fable What’s in Season Poster Series

Major Program Accomplishments or Outputs

Cooperative Extension in Arizona has expanded its Agricultural Literacy efforts. Eight out of fifteen counties and one research farm are conducting programs.

The twenty-fifth Annual Summer Agricultural Institute was held for 30 educators with help from 60 volunteers giving 600 hours of service. Twenty-five thousand dollars from 34 agribusinesses and organizations funded the five-day Institute that traveled through four counties. The Food, Land & People curriculum and Arizona Specialty Crop Lessons are provided for free to the participants.

Volunteers read in 17 classrooms to 532 primary students during Arizona Agricultural Literacy Days.

The new School Garden Food Safety Training program that is a collaboration of Arizona's Ag Literacy program, AZ Department's of Education, Health Services and Agriculture held six 2-hour workshops for 79 teachers.

Fifty-nine teachers at one elementary school continue to utilize the Food Land & People curriculum. The school has incorporated agriculture as the theme for the school curriculum.

“Arizona Agriculture: Bee's Amazing Adventure" children’s book continues to be popular and is utilized during Arizona Ag Literacy Days. This is the first accurate educational book about Arizona agriculture.

Performance-based assessments and evaluations of the educators participating in the Agricultural Literacy Program indicate an increased knowledge about agriculture and a willingness to use it to teach in their classroom.

Almost 120,000 students have lessons that are hands-on, real-world and educationally appropriate to allow them to understand a concept better in a particular subject and they understand the myriad of specialty crops in Arizona and the health benefits of improving their diet.

Major Program Impacts or Outcomes

Twenty-nine gardens have been certified by the AZ Department of Health Services after completion of the School Garden Food Safety workshop. Their school grown produce is now used in their school cafeteria.

Six months after training, 60% of workshop participants indicate they taught at least twelve lessons and averaged 12.2 hours of instruction utilizing the lessons provided in the training.

As a result of classroom instruction, in a follow-up survey 53% of students indicated correctly which crops are grown in AZ. The survey also indicates that students who work in school gardens increased their consumption of fruits and vegetables. Twenty-two percent of students had never eaten the food prior to planting, 72% have tried the food since planting them and 55% reported liking the food.

One hundred percent of the Summer Agricultural Institute attendees said they would recommend the Institute to other educators and rated the Institute as more valuable" than other in-service programs they have attended, as well as, saying it will make a significant difference" in the way they present agriculture in their classroom.

Almost 800 teachers use standards-based lessons they incorporate into their current curriculum. These lessons encourage critical thinking, problem- solving, cooperative learning and an understanding of the economic impact of Arizona's agricultural industry.

Teachers rate the AITC program giving it at 9.96 out of 10 on whether it was a worthwhile use of class time for their students.

Almost 200 “Bee Books” have been distributed to elementary classrooms during AZ Ag Literacy Days, 99 have been sold during teacher trainings and educational events. The publisher has sold 1,338 books to stores and individual purchasers on Amazon. An additional 800 have been purchased for distribution to elementary schools by Maricopa County Farm Bureau.


Monica Pastor is a University of Arizona faculty member and is an Associate Programmatic Area Agent for the University of Arizona College of Ag & Life Sciences Cooperative Extension. She is an Ag and Natural Resources Agent with an emphasis on Agricultural Literacy and School Garden Food Safety. Monica has a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics and a Masters in Education.

She works closely with the 15 members of her Ag Literacy Advisory Committee in administering a research-based, scientifically accurate program that utilizes current education pedagogy.

Monica has been involved with Ag in the Classroom since her tenure as a Fieldman and Director of Field Services with the Arizona Farm Bureau. When she became Executive Director of the Maricopa County Farm Bureau the Ag in the Classroom program was a priority directive from her volunteer Board. She was instrumental in coordinating meetings of the agriculture community to discuss education efforts by each of the agriculture organizations. A culmination of these meetings resulted in the development of the Summer Agricultural Institute and the formation of the AZ Foundation for Agricultural Literacy. The SAI just completed its twenty-fifth annual Institute and the Foundation is the funding source for SAI, teacher workshops and curriculum development for the Agricultural Literacy program in Arizona.