Four innovative Ontario teachers shared their successes on bringing agri-food into the classroom as part of an education panel discussion at AgScape’s 2018 annual meeting, held May 3 in Milton, Ontario. The event also included board elections, in-person greetings from Education Minister Indira Naidoo-Harris, updates on AgScape programs and resources, and an update from Agriculture in the Classroom Canada.
“We featured four outstanding teachers at this year’s AGM who are finding unique and effective ways to include the agri-food system in their classrooms,” says AgScape Executive Director Colleen Smith. “They are terrific ambassadors and we wanted them to share their insights and experiences with industry.”
Education panel members included: Nicole Swain of Brooklin High School, Theresa Watt of Banting Memorial High School in Alliston, Jason Beer of Eastview Secondary School in Barrie, and Diane O’Shea of Althouse College in London. Field trips were cited by all as an effective and influential way for students to learn about agri-food. All four teachers are past recipients of AgScape’s annual Teacher Recognition Award, and they all have direct connections to agriculture.
“Our signature Teacher Ambassador Program continues to expand with our team of 24 trained Ontario Certified Teachers who are delivering free, in-class lessons on 12 different agri-food topics across the province,” says Smith. In 2017, AgScape-trained Teacher Ambassadors were requested by 209 Ontario teachers and reached 3,413 students. “This program is bringing a credible voice for the agri-food sector directly into grade 7-12 classrooms across Ontario.”
The 2018/2019 AgScape Board of Directors includes two new community seat members – Jennifer Kyle from Beef Farmers of Ontario and Ciabh McEvenue from Revival Studio.
The rest of the board is unchanged and includes:
• Chair: Audrie Bouwmeester, Dairy Farmers of Ontario
• Vice-Chair: Kathryn Doan, AgCareers
• Treasurer: Jennifer Peart, Farm Credit Canada
• Corporate seats: Meaghan Ryersee, Syngenta Canada Inc.; Mark Kerry, Monsanto; Peter Hohenadel, The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair; Stephanie Szusz, TD Canada Trust; Charlotte O’Neill, Trouw Nutrition Canada/Shur-Gain
• Returning community seats: Jim McMillan, Beamsville, ON; Natalie Walt, CanWest DHI
AgScape also presented its Business of Food program – a series of 25 e-learning modules on various aspects of the agri-food sector that are vetted by industry experts and used to train Teacher Ambassadors. “Our Teacher Ambassadors are working to help build public trust for our industry with future consumers, and we’re looking to industry to help us reach our funding goals to support the remaining modules in this series,” says Smith.
AgScape is a charitable organization providing reliable and balanced resources to Ontario schools on agriculture, food production, environmental sustainability and related topics. AgScape, formerly OAFE, was created in 1991 with the mission of building awareness and understanding of the importance of our agriculture and food system. For more information visit www.agscape.ca, follow us on Twitter @AgScapeON and like us on Facebook.com/AgScapeON
Source: AgScape May 8, 2018 news release.