State Reports

State Summary 2015 — 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. Gardening for Nutrition - Gardening for Nutrition is the second in FAITC's school garden curricula series. In addition to information about how to start and maintain a school garden, and find funding to pay for the garden, it includes 17 K-12 lesson plans that help teachers tie the garden to classroom instruction. The lessons are interdisciplinary and cover reading, writing, math, science, nutrition, art, physical education and more. It debuted in late 2014, and we distributed 1,500 copies of it in 2015 at teacher workshops/farm tours around the state from online orders. To view a copy visit In addition, FAITC distributed about 1,000 copies of its first school garden curriculum Gardening for Grades in 2014. 2. STEMming Up Gardening for Grades - Began development of its third school garden curriculum series to be called "STEMming Up Gardening for Grades" which will include about a dozen secondary lessons that use STEM concepts to develop irrigation and gardening systems, among others. It's expected to debut in early 2017. 3. Teacher Workshops/Farm Tours - FAITC held four regional teacher workshops and farm tours and 20 local school garden workshops around the state, and had waiting lists for each one. Altogether, 800 teachers attended the workshops, who will reach an estimated 16,000 students. 4. Grants - FAITC distributed nearly 148 $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. 5. Drive Through Florida: Livestock and Poultry - FAITC, in partnership with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, developed the first in a new series of non-fiction Agriculture Literacy Day books that educate K-5 students about Florida agriculture. The 2015 book took students on a tour of the Florida livestock and poultry industries using a red pickup truck named "Ole Red." Altogether, FAITC's more than 1,000 readers read in 4,000 classrooms to 58,000 elementary students. 6. About 50 new and existing lessons developed by Florida Agriculture in the Classroom over the years were updated, re-correlated and posted to the new website so they're searchable by grade level (K-12), subject area (language arts, math, science and more) and commodity (beef, dairy, citrus and more.) Visit 7. Growing up Healthy with Food from Florida Activity newspaper - Revised eight-page student activity newspaper with MyPlate information. You can view it at

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 2015. In addition to school garden guidance, it features 17 K-12 lessons that use nutrition and garden concepts to teach reading, writing, math, science, nutrition, art, music and physical education to reach a broader range of general education teachers. In addition, its teacher workshop/farm tours have very popular and have resulted in waiting lists for each one. Teachers receive lessons in the morning related to commodities they see grown and harvested in the afternoon on nearby farms. It also wrote the first in a series of non-fiction Agriculture Literacy Day book called "Drive Through Florida: Livestock and Poultry," which covers Florida's livestock and poultry industries and features an animated red truck named "Ole 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 Common Core's emphasis on "reading for content" and "reading 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 9,600 teachers and 192,000 students in 2015. It reached more than an estimated 67,000 teachers and 500,000 students with materials orders and hits to its website during 2015. 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 2015.


Lisa Gaskalla Experience September 2003: Present Executive Director; Florida Agriculture in the Classroom, Inc.; Gainesville, FL August 2003 - July 1999: Executive Director; Polk County Farm Bureau; Bartow, FL July 1999 - March 1997: Public Affairs Manager; Florida Citrus Mutual; Lakeland, FL March 1997 - July 1992: Business Writer; The Tampa Tribune; Tampa, FL July 1992 - September 1989: Business Writer; The Ledger; Lakeland, FL September 1989 - July 1985: Business Writer; Orlando Business Journal; Orlando, FL July 1985 - June 1984: Cops, Medical Writer; Today newspaper; Cocoa, FL

Education Fall 1979 - Spring 1984:Bachelr's Degree - Journalism; University of Florida; Gainesville