INDIANAPOLIS (Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020/National FFA Organization)—The National FFA Organization is embracing an essential journey to ensure agricultural education and FFA is available and accessible to all.
This week, the National FFA Organization shared with colleagues and stakeholders the new Agricultural Education for All roadmap, which outlines the strategies the organization is taking to support inclusion, diversity and equity. FFA is taking steps to ensure the organization is a bully-free zone that reflects society’s demographics in membership, leadership and staff, and celebrates individuality.
“FFA is building the next generation of leaders—and the world needs leaders with diverse backgrounds, experiences, ideas and identities. Through agricultural education and FFA, students can take these experiences and apply them in their communities,” said Mark Poeschl, chief executive officer of the National FFA. “We want everyone to feel welcome in FFA and know they have a place to belong. It’s critical for our members to feel welcome, safe and celebrated as their authentic selves. Making a welcoming environment is important for our organization and for agriculture as a whole. I am excited to share with our staff, members and stakeholders the roadmap of the journey we are taking to achieve these goals.”
The Agricultural Education for All roadmap aims to ensure that FFA and agricultural education is a place where tolerance, respect and differences are valued.
Some examples of processes and programs FFA will implement include creating a dedicated inclusion, diversity and equity staff position at National FFA; offering additional gender identity options on all forms, surveys and applications; relaunch the H.O. Sargent Award to recognize individuals who have achieved success promoting inclusion, diversity and equity in agricultural education and FFA; developing Agricultural Education for All immersion curriculum and an online platform to build empathy, respect and inclusion for others; and training educators to be Agricultural Education for All facilitators.
Dr. Roger Cleveland, director of the Center for Research on the Eradication of Educational Disparities, has been working closely with FFA to develop the roadmap.
“After working with FFA for a year and a half now, the leadership has moved from words and conversations to action,” Cleveland said. “There have been great strides made to address inclusion, diversity and equity. This roadmap has a systemic focus that will transform the organization.”
The National FFA Organization is a school-based national youth leadership development organization of more than 760,000 student members as part of 8,700 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.