About the Program

The Kentucky Agriculture and Environment in the Classroom, Inc. (TeachKyAg), in partnership with Kentucky Farm Bureau, developed this specialty crop curriculum for Kentucky’s K-12 teachers who attend the Kentucky Farm Bureau Regional Teacher Workshops in June 2019.

This curriculum and guide was made possible by a Specialty Crop Grant from the United States Department of Agriculture, administered by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, and additional support from the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund and Kentucky Farm Bureau.

The curriculum, focusing solely on specialty crops and gardening, features contributions from national award-winning elementary teacher Darleen Horton, the Cooperative Extension Service, and other state Ag in the Classroom programs. Lessons are Kentucky Academic Standards-aligned in STEAM subjects with cross-curricular connections in Social Studies, Nutrition, Language Arts, and Practical Living.

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Garden-based lessons are the number one request TeachKyAg receives from Kentucky teachers. Many schools across the Commonwealth are constructing gardens on their school grounds and are looking for easy-to-implement lessons that meet the Kentucky Academic Standards for all grades. These projects provide students life skills and hands-on learning across multiple subject areas. Our hope is that students will not only learn about the natural world but may be able to produce fruit and vegetable crops on their own for personal consumption or possibly for a business enterprise.

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About the Contributors

Darleen Horton has been teaching since 1974, fostering real-world connections through teaching, guiding, inspiring and challenging students.

She earned her Bachelors from Western Kentucky University and graduate work in Education and Environmental Education from the University of Louisville.

Darleen spent her longest tenure as science lab coordinator for Chenoweth Elementary School in Louisville, where she used her love of gardening to teach her students about science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM). It was here that her programs earned her the 2005 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching among other regional, state, and national teaching awards.

Today, she continues to leave a lasting impact on education and the environment by regularly developing STEAM-based curriculum, training teachers across the country, and serving on many curriculum and education program review committees.

Through this compilation of lessons, she focused on providing outdoor learning experiences that connect real life STEAM emphasis to the curriculum, with the hopes of enhancing students’ love and understanding of nature and the world.


Jennifer Elwell is the Executive Director of the Kentucky Agriculture and Environment in the Classroom and founder Farm Scholar, LLC, an agricultural literacy consulting firm.

She is a graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, where she focused her studies and experience on strategic communications and design. Jennifer has served several Kentucky agriculture organizations for more than 20 years through public relations program development, copy writing, print and digital design, and association management.