Photo Courtesy of Illinois Farm Bureau.
This Saturday, May 10th, The IAA Foundation will be holding its’ 4th annual 5K Grow and Go to raise money for Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom.
The 5K will be held in Bloomington and will begin by the corporate headquarters of the Illinois Farm Bureau, Country Financial, and Growmark.
“We’re very fortunate to host the 5K at our headquarters, it’s one of the few opportunities we get to open our doors to the public and show the company,” Jennifer Smith, Program Manager for the IAA Foundation, said.
In its’ four years the 5K has steadily been growing, and had a total of 338 total participants last year. Past races have generated around $15,000 each year, with estimates to bring in around that much this year as well.
One area the 5K has been growing in particular, is the number of children participating. The 5K offers a Cock-a-Doodle Dash for children 10 and under, which starts 30 minutes prior to the 5K.
One of the unique aspects of the Grow and Go is its’ open house, which has activities for the whole family.
“The open house is one of the highlights of our 5K,” Smith said. “We offer a hot breakfast that’s sponsored by Eurist Dining, we have free post race massages, and a few of our sponsors will be set up so they can interact with our participants.”
The open house is free to anyone that does the 5K or for children that participate in the Cock-a-Doodle dash. Those who aren’t running can pay a $7 fee to enter, which includes the hot breakfast.
Also available in the open house will be stations where kids can learn more about agriculture.
“The interactive learning stations are coordinated by our Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom staff,” Smith said. “They’re activities that are focused on teaching and connecting kids to agriculture, since they are often so far removed from it.”
All the proceeds from the 5K will go towards funding the Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom program.
“The program provides resources and materials to teachers, free of cost, that help them incorporate agriculture into their classrooms,” Smith said. “The materials meet Illinois learning standards, so it’s not like they’re reinventing the wheel, they can easily incorporate the material into their classroom and into their curriculum.”
The materials are available to teachers throughout the state through their respective county farm bureaus.
“We’re trying to connect students to where exactly their food, fiber, and fuel come from,” Smith said. “Overall we just want to teach them the importance of agriculture, because without this program they may not learn about it.”
More information on the IAA Foundation, Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom, and the 5K can be found at http://www.iaafoundation.org.
Those wishing to participate in the 5K can register online through their website, or at the 5K itself.
Check in and race day registration begins at 7:30am and goes until 8:45am on Saturday May 10th at 1701 Towanda Ave in Bloomington. The Cock-a-Doodle Dash begins at 8:30 am and the 5K begins at 9 am.
Registration for the 5K is $25, and includes the hot breakfast and open house. Registration for the Cock-a-Doodle Dash is $5, which includes the open house, agriculture learning stations, hot breakfast, and an award.