SAI Reflections: Michelle Weidinger

Reflections on the 2017 Summer Agriculture Institute

BY Michelle Weidinger

Webster’s Dictionary defines agriculture as “the science, art, or practice of cultivating the soil, producing crops, and raising livestock and in varying degrees the preparation and marketing of the resulting products.” Prior to the Summer Agricultural Institute, this was the extent of my knowledge about the agricultural world. I have always lived in larger cities and towns and was not very connected to where my food came from. I would go to the grocery store, buy what I need and not really think about how that food got there. The Summer Agricultural Institute not only offered an opportunity for me to connect where our food comes from but also offered a connection to the incredible people within the agricultural industry.

Going through the Summer Agricultural Institute, I have learned so much that I can take back to my classroom to help educate my students. We can explore a real-world problem - How are we going to feed an increasing population? The Summer Agricultural Institute provided experiences and resources that I can bring back to my students to help them make important connections to this topic. I also learned how many career choices there are within the agricultural industry. Having the knowledge of the different types of careers within the industry allows me to better guide and support my students in their research of this topic.

I am grateful for the opportunity that the Summer Agricultural Institute provided for me. I now have a greater knowledge, deeper connections and a hunger to learn more that I can pass on to my students for many years to come!

Michelle Weidinger
5th Grade Science Teacher
Cromer Elementary School


This is the second of three reflections by Coconino County teachers who participated in the 2017 Summer Agricultural Institute, a program for grade-school educators throughout Arizona to help them better integrate agricultural topics in their classrooms and schools. Diablo Trust raised money for the program in April, and will distribute those funds to the program this winter, including reimbursing the three teachers from Coconino County (where Diablo Trust and its ranches are located) for their application fees.