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Group promotes farming through book donations

In a world that seems to have a new type of career springing up every minute, several ladies in the area are hoping to re-introduce the younger generations to a career that most often is the starting point for many other industries – farming.

The Women’s Leadership Division of the Franklin County Farmer’s Federation recently donated 18 books with farm-related themes to West Elementary School in Russellville.

The women also donated a unique bookshelf fashioned in the shape of a barn and a silo that they commissioned the Russellville High School agriculture department to build.

Both donations were made as part of the women’s “Learning Barn Bookcase Project,” which is something they hope will get students interested in agriculture.

“We all have a farming background so we know firsthand that this can be a wonderful career, and life, to have,” said Carol Glass, chairwoman of the Women’s Leadership Division of the Franklin County Farmer’s Federation.

“Farming is also vital to our world even though these children don’t know that. They think their food comes from the grocery store or from McDonald’s. They don’t realize now that the food had to be grown and harvested before it could even get to those places.”

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s Franklin County Office joined with the women on this project as part of their Farm-City activities that attempt to bridge the gap between the rural and city areas in the community.

“These days, no one really takes their kids to the farm anymore so you have to bring the farm to them if they’re ever going to learn about it,” said Katernia Cole, Franklin County Extension coordinator.

“If they can read a book that is interesting to them, it might spark an interest that could lead to a agriculture-related career like farming, family consumer sciences or an agriculture teacher. All it takes is just getting them the information in a format they can understand and enjoy and these books are a great way to do this.”

Glass said agriculture is one of the most important industries that are available yet it still seems to be falling by the wayside.

“There is about two percent of the world’s population that feeds the rest of the world through farming,” Glass said.

“But it isn’t just food that farmers supply; it’s also commodities we need daily like cotton for the clothing we wear. Farming touches so many aspects of life.”

Glass said the women have also commissioned learning barn bookcases to be built by other high school ag departments or Future Farmers of America (FFA) groups to be placed in every elementary school in the county, except for Phil Campbell, which didn’t have the capacity at the time to build the shelves.

“This project first started in Virginia and spread to Alabama and several counties in the state have already begun to implement it, so we wanted to get Franklin County involved as well,” Glass said.

“We believe this is a worthwhile project that will benefit all the county’s children.”

Glass said members of the community can also participate in the project by donating a farm-related book to be displayed in the bookcases.

Glass said books could be donated in memory of or in honor of someone, or they could just simply be donated to the school of their choice.

Anyone interested in making a donation to purchase a book can contact Glass at 256-810-5446 or Eyvonne Herring at 256-627-1435 for more information.