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On Wednesday, September 16th, I was given the opportunity to go to Ag in the Classroom (AITC-M) “Amazing Ag Adventure” tour at Kelburn Farms in Manitoba. Let me begin by saying that it was an amazing experience. I’m always so thankful to be working in this industry after attending its many events. The people who work with Ag in the Classroom are upbeat, engaged, funny and so inspiring. The goal of the evening was to show how the program runs for children, in order to help them learn farming practices and how their food is grown.
The evening started at 5:00 pm, when myself and many other industry members met at Kelburn Farms located in the Red River Valley of Manitoba. We were then driven to Glenlea farm to explore the Brian D. Campbell Farm & Food Discovery Centre. Here, leaders explain the happenings behind breeding, birthing and feeding pigs; how biosecurity works and why it’s important; what are the many different nutrients which are good for the plants and crops; and finally, what foods are most grown in Manitoba, and why they are good for our health. These are lessons which benefit children by teaching them why farming and farmers are important.
The Glenlea Research farm has barns which contain mini chicken coups, dairy cows, cattle and pigs. Having real-life farmers volunteer to bring their animals to help describe their farm processes is such a valuable experience for young students. This way they’re able to see the animals up close, see how they are cared for, and learn how they are used in our food. We are told by many volunteers that a large number of the students who come through the farm have never stepped foot in a barn before, or have never seen a live cow. Bringing their food to life helps them learn to be grateful to our farmers, as well as inspires them to join the industry.
“We are so proud of this AITC-M flag ship event! What a way to learn about agriculture; Hands on, curriculum linked and interactive surrounded by authentic farm settings. This is Ag education at its very best!” says Johanne Ross, Executive Director of AITC-M. And proud she should be – Ag in the Classroom has gained much appreciation over the years with their many volunteers, programs and events. It’s a nation-wide program, with AITC organizations in each province.
If you are a teacher, or if you know a teacher, I encourage you to check out the many programs featured on their website. AITC-M is a non-profit organization supported by sponsors and members who share the same dream of inspiring young students with agriculture. Children are the future of farming, which is why ag-education is so important!