WESTCHESTER, IL, Jan 15, 2019 – In a world of super-sized grocery stores, drive-up windows, and ready-made microwave meals, most consumers do not give much thought to where food comes from or how it is made. Julie Knutson, an academic consultant in Follett School Solution’s K-12 Classroom division, believes there is a better way to eat and set out to prove it in her new series of books, “Nature’s Makers,” just released by Cherry Lake Publishing.
Written for upper elementary students, each of the six books profiles a different farmer who shares Knutson’s commitment to a safe, healthy, sustainable food system. Her passion for the project was fueled in part by her longtime friend Andrea Hazzard, who is profiled in her book “Seed to Stove.” Knutson says Hazzard helped her to become more aware of the need to highlight women in farming. Another motivation was a desire to demonstrate to her nephew Will, an aspiring farmer, that there is a sustainable and responsible way to follow his dream.
Always the educator, Knutson says she noticed a gap in the teaching standards for grades 3-5 in economics and sustainability education that needed to be filled. The books all include a bit of history, sidebars, a glossary, thought-provoking questions, fun facts, and activities, and promote an understanding of natural resources, human capital, and physical capital.
Knutson says the real fun in creating “Nature’s Makers” came from spending time with the people featured in the books. While she did make some cold calls, Knutson soon learned that the small but thriving world of agricultural entrepreneurship is quite interconnected. Hazzard introduced Knutson to Gretta Winkelbauer of Gretta’s Goats, who makes and sells handmade soap, cheese, lip balm, and caramels with the help of her herd of goats. After publishing “Pasture to Market,” Winkelbauer and Knutson went on to become friends. Gretta’s Goats had the incredible good fortune of having its products endorsed by Oprah Winfrey, which gave the business quite a boost.
“Hive to Honey” came out of a fascination for bees and their communities that led Knutson to Nathan Clarke, of Mad Urban Bees in Madison, WI. A cousin recommended she check out Highfield Farm Creamery located in Walworth, WI. After meeting Terry and Denise Woods, who run the state’s smallest milking parlor, Knutson wrote “Udder to Cheddar.”
“Garden to table” is the story of Tim Redmond of Michigan’s Skinny Farm. Redmond, who co-founded Eden Foods in the early 1970s, shares Knutson’s belief that farming is one of the most critical professions of the future.
Knutson wrote “Cow to Cone” after stumbling upon the Milky Way Farm in Pennsylvania, where she and her husband still have family. Her young son Theo accompanied her on her visit to the farm’s Chester Springs Creamery. There, you can order a scoop of Bessie’s Black Raspberry ice cream, then visit the pasture and thank Bessie for the treat.
A regular visitor to local farmer’s markets, Knutson says that food brings people together.
“You should have relationships with your farmers and use food as a way to connect and reconnect with the people in your life.”
Through her previous work as a middle and high-school teacher and now as an author and academic consultant, Knutson embodies Follett’s purpose of improving the world by inspiring learning and shaping education. Her personal devotion to issues of human rights, sustainability, and global citizenship touch those around her. In fact, many of Knutson’s colleagues have agreed to join her in adopting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals each month in 2019, beginning with a pledge not to use plastic bags during the month of January.
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About Follett Corporation | Follett.com
Follett Corporation is the world's largest single source of books, digital content and multi-media for libraries, schools and retailers. Headquartered in Westchester, Illinois, Follett provides education technology, services and physical and digital content to millions of students at 70,000 schools and more than 2,850 physical and virtual campus stores in North America. Through Baker & Taylor, Follett's reach also extends to the public library and global retail markets.
About Follett School Solutions | FollettLearning.com
Follett is the largest provider of educational materials and technology solutions to PreK-12 libraries, classrooms, learning centers and school districts in the United States, and a major supplier to educational institutions worldwide. Follett distributes books, reference materials, digital resources, ebooks and audiovisual materials, as well as pre-owned textbooks. Follett also is one of the leading providers of integrated educational technology for the management of physical and digital assets, the tracking, storing and analyzing of academic data, and digital learning environment tools for the classroom focusing on student achievement.