Rick Block believes that youth are the key to the sustainability of the agriculture industry. This belief is reflected in his commitment to agriculture education and passion for promoting stewardship.
After graduating from the University of Saskatchewan with a Master’s in Soil Science (the study of soil as a natural resource) in 2004, Rick worked in two term positions at the University and with the Ministry of Agriculture. He later served as a program manager for Heifer International, whose work is to improve community food security. In 2010, he and his family embarked on a four-year volunteer mission to Mexico, working with community groups on agricultural and food development.
When Rick returned to the province in 2014, he jumped at the opportunity to work with Agriculture in the Classroom - Saskatchewan (AITC-SK). The organization provides innovative, curriculum-based programs and resources to help increase students' awareness and understanding of agriculture. Rick is the director of Little Green Thumbs, an indoor gardening program that helps students better understand agriculture on a larger scale.
Rick notes that children often don’t know how food is grown, but the classroom gardens help them to develop a deeper understanding of food through first-hand experience. Guided by their teacher, students work as a team to plant, care for and harvest the garden. The garden in the classroom is representative of the diversity of agricultural activity, big and small, in rural and urban areas, and is an effective tool to help children realize that it is the joint effort of all growers that helps feed the world.
Rick’s passion is to promote sustainability and stewardship of the land. Although he learned some of these concepts growing up on a small farm near Waldheim, many students don’t have this opportunity. By seeing their gardens all the way through, the children build character and a commitment to stewardship.
Gardens also educate students on the life cycle and nature’s “no-waste” design. Students gain first-hand experience when they chop and feed the garden plants (after harvest) to red wiggler worms. The worms transform this material into nutrient-rich vermicast, or worm manure, which is applied to the garden the following year.
By providing students with accurate and balanced agricultural information, Rick is helping them plant the seeds of success.
Learn more about Agriculture in the Classroom by visiting their website.
Other careers in Agronomy: Soil Conservationist, Crop Inspector, Rangeland Manager, Fertilizer Specialist, Soil Chemist and many more.
Other careers in Environment: Environment Consultant, Land Reclamation Specialist, Surveyor, Policy Analyst, Sustainability Manager, Ecologist, Environmental Engineer/Technician and many more.
Where to take courses: University of Regina, University of Saskatchewan and Saskatchewan Polytechnic.
Average Yearly Salary: $79,472
Job Prospects: Limited
Go back to the Agronomy or Environment Overview page to see more careers related to Rick’s or visit SaskCareers.ca.
*All salaries are based on the 2013 Saskatchewan Wage Survey Report