Agriculture Answers a Mother’s Prayer

I love kid art, especially seeing what kids draw when asked to make a picture about agriculture. So, of course, my favorite project at work is the NC Farm to School calendar. 

I started this project to promote the NC Farm to School program, which gets fruits and vegetables growing the state into school nutrition programs. We host a calendar contest for grades K-5, with the theme of “North Carolina Agriculture.” Thirteen winners are chosen and their artwork appears in the calendar.   

Each year, we host an awards reception for the winners and their families. I love getting to meet the students behind the art and learning about them. In seven years of doing the contest, I’ve talked with almost 100 winners. Many stand out, but there is one young man I will never forget.

Talking with his mother at the reception, she shared how grateful she was for the contest. Not excited, as most parents are about their children winning, but grateful. Her son was a new student at his school that year. Not into athletics, he was struggling to make friends and figure out where he fit in. She said she’d been praying he would find his place.

Since winning the contest, he had been recognized by his school, was feeling more confident, and was making friends. She told me the contest was an answer to her prayers.

It was all I could do not to cry on the spot because I say the same prayers over my oldest son. He is not interested in sports, but loves to draw and paint. He struggles to make friends, in part, because his autism makes social interactions challenging. I also pray that my son finds his place. 

Starting this contest was a way to promote farming and educate elementary students about North Carolina agriculture. I never dreamed the contest could be life changing, but this mother’s testimony goes to show a person’s life can change in an instant – even by winning an art contest.  

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