In honour of Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month, a national organization has received federal money to expand its programming. (U.S Department of Agriculture/Flickr)

In honour of Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month, a national organization has received federal money to expand its programming. (U.S Department of Agriculture/Flickr)

Agriculture education in Canadian schools gets $1.6M boost from the feds

It’s imperative students know where their food comes from: Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau

By Cloe Logan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer

A Canada-wide organization that helps teach kids about food systems received a financial boost from the government this week.

On Monday, federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced $1.6 million for Agriculture in the Classroom Canada, an organization that works with schools across the country to implement food and agriculture into curriculums.

The charity, which has been around for six years, was honoured for Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month. Its programs span from kindergarten to Grade 12 and aim to educate students about where their food comes from and how it’s produced.

“Everything we develop on the theme of agriculture and food production is connected to Canadian curriculum through science, social studies, food, food courses, nutrition. It really fits everywhere,” said Johanne Ross, executive director of Agriculture in the Classroom Canada.

“Part of our success is that we don’t just say to a teacher… ‘Here’s a resource on how to teach it.’ We say, ‘Here’s a resource, here’s how it integrates into your curriculum outcomes in your province.”’

It’s imperative students know where their food comes from, says Bibeau.

“They must know what farmers’ work consists of and how hard they work to take care of their animals and our environment in order to provide us with high-quality food. I encourage our young people to take an interest in the many job opportunities available to them on farms and in mechanics, electronics and engineering, science, animal and plant health, and much more,” the minister said.

“I applaud the Agriculture in the Classroom Canada team for their outstanding work and celebrate Agriculture Literacy Month with them.”

Ross said part of the money will go to expanding and improving its online teaching resources, as well as hosting professional development days for teachers.

“Nowadays, it’s talking about the environment and sustainability, and food sovereignty and food security, and food safety — all those areas connect to agriculture,” she said. “That’s where we are definitely focusing a lot now. And we still have a lot of work to do in all areas, but we’re going to keep going.”

There are other groups across the province that work with students, including the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation (SPEC). Over the past 12 years, SPEC has worked to create school gardens, mostly in Vancouver, and deliver classroom programs and resources.

Sharlene Singh is the school gardens program co-ordinator at SPEC, where she says she has seen their programs foster a connection between kids and plants. Kids offer feedback and are involved in designing the school gardens, which Singh says keeps them excited and engaged.

“A lot of our students are really fascinated when they learn that you can actually plant a radish and harvest it within a month. That blows them away,” she said. “A lot of students love kale! It would surprise you how many students want to plant kale.”

Singh sees first-hand the effects working in a garden can have on a student. She remembers a time challenging two groups of students to get corn when she was especially impressed with the group’s teamwork.

“When they finally (got the corn out), the cheers and the enthusiasm that occurred, that erupted from that group … brought me a lot of joy,” she said. “Because I think sometimes we negate the importance of learning in a garden space. It isn’t just planting and growing things, I think there’s a lot of scientific, artistic, mathematics … a lot of art going on.”

It’s not just the educational rewards it can have for kids, but also the mental ones, says Singh. It has been shown that spending 30 minutes outside each day can improve mental health, which she says is more important than ever.

“People are actually dealing with a lot of mental health issues no matter what age you are, and it’s kind of nice to have that space to be in the garden and to just enjoy and learn how to grow food, learn how to harvest, learn how to water,” she said.

“It’s all layered in the teaching of school gardens.”

Agriculture

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Red dresses to be hung from Ladysmith to Oyster Bay, showing solidarity against racism

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

Volunteers tend to White Rock’s waterfront native plant demonstration garden, during a work party Saturday (May 5). (Contributed photo)
Ready your gardens, the pollinators are coming

By R. Quinlan With the arrival of Spring, this year has more… Continue reading

Bruce Whittington making a founding gift to the Ladysmith Community Foundation Fund, presented to then Nanaimo Foundation Board Chair, Ted Carson. (Submitted photo)
New Ladysmith Community Fund set up to support local charities

The fund will be managed by the Nanaimo Foundation and all funds will remain in Ladysmith

B.C. Centre for Disease Control maps showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 4-10. (BCCDC image)
Parksville-Qualicum passes Nanaimo in new COVID-19 cases

Greater Victoria had more new cases than any other Island area: B.C. Centre for Disease Control

‘For Sale’ signs quickly turned to ‘Sold’ signs as record-high demand for housing meets record-low inventory. (Cole Schisler photo)
Multiple offers and unconditional sales rampant in Ladysmith housing market

Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Zone 3 director Susan Perrey says the market is ‘crazy all around’

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control has listed Harbour Air and Air Canada flights to and from Nanaimo, from April 3, 4 and 12, on its list of flights with COVID-19. (News Bulletin file)
COVID-19 cases reported for Nanaimo flights, says disease control centre

Nanaimo flights for April 3, 4 and 12 listed on BCCDC’s list of flights with COVID-19

Russ Ball (left) and some of the team show off the specimen after they were able to remove it Friday. Photo supplied
Courtenay fossil hunter finds ancient turtle on local river

The specimen will now make its home at the Royal BC Museum

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

Local carpenter Tyler Bohn embarked on a quest to create the East Sooke Treehouse, after seeing people build similar structures on a Discovery Channel show. (East Sooke Treehouse Facebook photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. carpenter builds fort inspired by TV’s ‘Treehouse Masters’

The whimsical structure features a wooden walking path, a loft, kitchen – and is now listed on Airbnb

Most Read