By Shayla Hertz, BSA, AAg, Provincial Agriculture Awareness Specialist, Regional Services Branch
Literacy is the foundation for all learning, which is why Agriculture in the Classroom-Canada (AITC) celebrates Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month (CALM) annually in classrooms across the country every March. Since 2012, Agriculture in the Classroom-Canada has delivered this program to over 120,000 students in Canada.
Running in March 2018, CALM will connect students with agriculture so they can share exciting stories about food and farming. For the seventh consecutive year, this initiative will connect producers and industry members to teachers and students across the country, which is critical to the sustainability of the agriculture industry and building public trust.
Complementary to October’s Agriculture Month theme, “Our Food Has A Story,” CALM is an ideal time to continue telling our food stories in a hands-on, creative way. Providing opportunities to engage students in activities to learn about, connect to, and understand the diversity of the agriculture industry is essential to building trust in modern agriculture.
CALM is a time to read books and watch videos that contain real stories about real heroes – and is also a time to meet these heroes. This initiative provides students with the unique opportunity to meet the people who grow the food they eat – connecting faces to all the moving parts within the industry. In the months leading up to CALM, Agriculture in the Classroom-Saskatchewan (AITC-SK) will be coordinating classroom visits with Saskatchewan farmers and agriculture industry representatives interested in volunteering during March.
AITC-SK needs YOU to be the face of agriculture – so volunteer to visit a classroom in March. Share your knowledge, experiences, and stories – give the gift of enlightenment, understanding, and joy. Ignite imaginations as you lead students in a fun activity to help them learn about the food they eat and the wonderful people who make it happen.
Last year in Saskatchewan, CALM classroom presentations took place in 309 classrooms in 173 schools and involved the efforts of 256 teachers and 168 volunteers. In one month, 7,042 students were connected with agriculture – let’s try to exceed this number in 2018!
Literacy in agriculture topics is imperative. It’s the basis for future learning and sets the tone for how children feel about farming and food. In order to ensure children have a positive perception of agriculture, we need to help them connect the dots.
You can learn more and sign up to volunteer through the CALM website: www.aitc-calm.ca. Make sure to reach out to your teacher friends and family about CALM so they can sign up for a classroom visit by an agriculture volunteer and receive a free learning kit for their classroom. If you cannot donate your time, consider other ways you could support agriculture education.
Bringing agriculture into the classroom requires support from the entire industry; any contribution you make during CALM will be impactful.
Let’s make agriculture come to life this March!
For more information on the Ministry’s involvement in Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month, contact Shayla Hertz, Provincial Agriculture Awareness Specialist, at 306-787-9298 or firstname.lastname@example.org.