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Bright Spot: Brainerd teacher wins national classroom agriculture award

Four women stand in a line as Carrie Allord receives MN Agriculture in the Classroom award.
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MN Department of Agriculture
St. Francis Catholic School Principal Jennifer Nagel, left, Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom 2024 Outstanding Teacher Carrie Allord, MAITC Ed Specialists Sue Knott and Keri Sidle.

Third grade teacher and third-generation farmer Carrie Allord is Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom’s 2024 Outstanding Teacher. She also earned national recognition.

BRAINERD — Food doesn’t just appear out of thin air. That’s something Carrie Allord wants to teach her third grade students at St. Francis Catholic School in Brainerd.

Allord has incorporated agriculture into many aspects of her classroom, including math, social studies and reading, but the focal point is a Silkie breed hen named Pearl.

“She stays in her pen and she likes to cluck when the kids will come by, cause we'll give her treats,” Allord said.

In May, Allord was named Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom's 2024 Outstand Teacher Award winner. She was also recognized as one of six Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Award winners by the National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization.

As small family farms have disappeared, agriculture has become more invisible in society, Allord said. She wants to improve agricultural literacy by helping students appreciate how food reaches the table and understand the importance, diversity and functions of agriculture in society.

Allord recently attended the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference in Salt Lake City, where she met many others who do similar work and got some new ideas.

“My favorite one is incorporating agriculture even more thoroughly all year, using different national holidays like National Pizza Day,” she said.

Allord encouraged community members to get involved in local classrooms.

“If you're on a farm, if you're interested about it, help the teachers by offering to go in," she said. " ... Even [if you] just find an agriculture book and read about it and help those teachers get agriculture in the classrooms.”

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Jennifer has worked at Northern Community Radio since 2006 and spent 17 years as Membership Manager. She shifted to a host/producer position in 2023. She hosts the Monday Morning Show and is the local host of National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" a few days a week. She also writes public services announcements and creates web stories.
Malachy started his radio career at a college radio station, where he played weird music in the middle of the night to possibly no one. On a good night maybe his parents were listening. Nonetheless, he was hooked on public radio and is still doing it today. He joined Northern Community Radio in 2022, where he gets to share his passion for local music as Producer of Centerstage Minnesota, an all Minnesota music show airing Fridays at 2pm.