Farmers Van Brown and Beth Tillman of Firefly Farms and Debbi Tanner, chairwoman of the CT Farm Bureau Women's Leadership Committee, right, unveil and dedicate a farm bookcase in front of the first-graders at North Stonington Elementary School in North Stonington Tuesday, June 2, 2015. The bookcase was built by students at Ellis Technical School in Danielson and purchased and donated to the school by Firefly Farms.

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New North Stonington Elementary School Bookcase Highlights Agriculture

By  Lindsay Boyle Twitter: @LindsayABoyle

Published June 07. 2015 7:16PM Updated June 07. 2015 8:43PM
North Stonington — The Connecticut Farm Bureau Association Tuesday presented North Stonington Elementary School with a red barn replica bookcase for its library, the first of two that will come to New London County. The handmade bookcase, funded by North Stonington-based Firefly Farms, ultimately will be stuffed with about 12 books. Some titles include "The Beeman," by Laurie Krebs, and "How Did That Get in My Lunchbox?: The Story of Food," by Chris Butterworth.The goal of the program, initiated by the CFBA Women's Leadership Committee, is to place 20 barn bookcases — with books that feature things such as maple and dairy that are produced in Connecticut — throughout the state. "The aim is to provide a special place within the library where books on agriculture can be cleverly displayed by school librarians and enjoyed by the primary school students," said Debbi Tanner, chairwoman of the Women's Leadership Committee, in a press release.

Already, Elementary School Media Specialist Kerry Henderson said, students have noticed the bookcase. "They come in asking me all about it," Henderson said. "We already read one of the books donated, which talked about food and how we get it." She was talking about "Seed, Soil, Sun: Earth's Recipe for Food," written by Cris Peterson. Henderson said it's "a big honor" to have been selected to receive the bookcase.

When CFBA representatives spoke Tuesday, she said, "they made the good point of how everything comes from farms and, without farms, how would we live?" "It's a really good lesson for our kids to begin to understand."

For Van Brown, owner of Firefly Farms, inspiring kids to "bring life forth from the earth" is the goal. "When I saw that only two bookcases were available per county, I desperately wanted one of the bookcases with books to come to North Stonington. We are supposed to be a farming town," Brown said. "So much of what makes Firefly great is the research we do, but you have to have books and material to be able to learn. It all starts in libraries."

The Connecticut Agricultural Education Foundation also donated $2,000 toward the overall project.