By Tamara Wolfe, Contract Analyst, Programs Branch
Twenty-five years ago, a small group of people passionate about agriculture realized that children and youth were growing up without a real connection to our industry. They created Agriculture in the Classroom Saskatchewan (AITC-SK) to address the concern, and have since played a pivotal role in educating Saskatchewan’s youth.
The people behind AITC-SK are passionate about inspiring the next generation to care about their food and the farmers who produce it. They educate our inspiring, future leaders through hands-on activities, engaging programs and inquiry-based educational resources.
The future of agriculture is sitting in classrooms across the province, with their hands enthusiastically raised and ready to experience all that agriculture has to offer. Now more than ever, young people deserve to know where their food comes from. Misinformation about our industry is easy to find online, and AITC-SK is sharing accurate, balanced and science-based information that showcases what we do in agriculture and why. By increasing industry knowledge and sharing Saskatchewan’s food production story, the organization is helping build public trust in agriculture.
AITC-SK’s mission is to connect kids and agriculture through curriculum-based programs and resources. In 2018 alone, AITC-SK reached 247 communities, 640 schools, and more than 2,500 teachers and 73,700 students. That equals 350,000 learning hours in the classroom and 12,540 resources distributed to teachers.
Elementary programming ranges from classroom gardening programs and classroom presentations about where food comes from, to field trips where students plant crops, meet producers and get their hands dirty learning about agriculture. Middle-year programming explores Saskatchewan’s role in global food security, science and biotechnology in agriculture, and the diversity of careers in agriculture. High school programming further examines food security and biotechnology, with a greater emphasis on encouraging students to play a role in feeding a growing world.
To accomplish this work, AITC-SK works alongside educators, producers, agribusiness and agriculture organizations to ensure all programs and resources meet the needs of educators, industry partners and, most importantly, students. The organization believes in empowering students to think critically and to explore their personal connection to agriculture.
The people at AITC-SK attribute its success to the many sponsors and volunteers who have provided time and resources. The support that AITC-SK has received has enabled the organizations to bridge the needs of the agriculture and education communities, but there is still more work to do. AITC-SK’s programming and resources are so in-demand by teachers that it’s a challenge to keep up. If you are interested in providing support to AITC-SK, check out AITC’SK’s website.
This article was originally published in Agriview.