Kingsland received a grant for $18,551 from the Minnesota Agriculture Education Leadership Council (MAELC) to start a food science class for juniors and seniors.

The competitive grant, which was sought by numerous schools, went to Kingsland because MAELC endorsed the unique proposal from Kingsland ag instructor Kristal Brogan for a class through the agriculture curriculum that would also meet the chemistry standards at the high school level. Brogan learned after the winter break that the district had received the grant from the proposal she submitted.

"We're in the process of putting a foods lab into the high school," she said.

The grant will enable Brogan to start a food science course, something she had desired for quite some time. Now, she has the resources in place to do that next fall.

"I've wanted to have this class ever since the science standards changed and students need to have a chemistry or physics class to graduate, and a career and tech education (CTE) instructor can teach this," she said. "It will meet the chemistry science standards - ag doesn't really have set standards."

The grant will provide the basic materials and equipment needed to pilot the food science class and set up the lab. It will cover textbooks, lab equipment, stoves and microwaves, curriculum writing and other items to begin the class.

Although Brogan is modeling the class after curricula from another school's courses, it is a new class and curriculum that the Kingsland students have not been exposed to.

"Students will learn about chemistry as it relates to the food they eat and how it is grown. Food chemistry has two components - a discussion period and a laboratory period which is designed to give students an opportunity to observe and conduct hands-on experiments," she said.

The course explains how water, carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, vitamins and minerals react in foods, the biochemical and functional properties of foods, enzymes, food additives such as emulsifiers, pigments, colors, flavors, preservatives and sweeteners, and texture as related to properties in food systems and during processing. Students will also be introduced to food science through product development. As related to food chemistry, this course will also look into soil chemistry and how it relates to food production and biofuel chemistry with food crops. The course will meet requirements for one chemistry credit.

The class might eventually involve field trips, but at this point, the teacher is still developing the tenets of instruction, a process that poses some challenges. As with any new course, "the challenges are going through the material and making it flow from topic to topic, and the initial set up and organization," she said.

MAELC's purpose is to "foster new ideas and curricula, encourage people to enter or remain in the agriculture education profession, provide a venue to look at the 'big picture' of agricultural education in Minnesota and to serve as an information network providing answers to agricultural education questions and inquiries," according to its website.

"Minnesota is stronger when people understand the importance of agriculture...it is important for agricultural education to serve both youth and adults," noted the website.