Ju­nior Farm­ers sup­port ag-lit­er­acy

AgS­cape’s Teacher Am­bas­sador pro­gram re­ceives fund­ing from Ox­ford Ju­nior Farm­ers

Sentinel-Review (Woodstock) - - NEWS - BRUCE CHES­SELL

The Ox­ford County Ju­nior Farm­ers are show­ing their sup­port for ag-lit­er­acy in lo­cal schools.

The Ju­nior Farm­ers an­nounced Mon­day that it had made a “gen­er­ous do­na­tion” to AgS­cape’s Teacher Am­bas­sador pro­gram to sup­port fact-based agri­cul­ture and food in­for­ma­tion de­liv­ered by On­tario cer­ti­fied teach­ers to high school stu­dents.

Started four years ago, it fo­cuses on hav­ing un­der-em­ployed On­tario cer­ti­fied teach­ers de­liver agri­cul­tural les­sons to stu­dents from Grade 7 to 12.

Drew De Bruyn of the Ox­ford County Ju­nior Farm­ers said that though Ox­ford County is an agri­cul­tural com­mu­nity, many stu­dents are un­aware of the strong links they have to farm­ing roots.

“Our group wants to help pro­vide sound in­for­ma­tion about agri­cul­tural prac­tices and the food sys­tem to stu­dents in Ox­ford County,” De Bruyn said.

The Ju­nior Farmer’s do­na­tion will give lo­cal teach­ers ac­cess to a teacher am­bas­sador to de­liver free, in-class les­sons dur­ing the 20172018 school year and the club is also go­ing to pro­mote the pro­gram through­out the year.

AgS­cape ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Colleen Smith said th­ese les­sons can cover a wide va­ri­ety of top­ics that re­late to agri­cul­ture and food.

“Let’s say they have to talk about cli­mate change,” Smith said. “Well we use an ag fo­cus on cli­mate change and how it af­fects crops and farm­ers and what they do. We do things on wa­ter man­age­ment and talk about lo­cal food and food safety.

“There are a num­ber of ar­eas we talk about,” she added. “We talk about technology and in­no­va­tion, but we al­ways talk about it from an agri­cul­ture per­spec­tive.”

Smith said that while the pro­gram is of­fered all over On­tario, most of the teacher am­bas­sadors are lo­cated in South­west­ern On­tario be­cause of the dense pop­u­la­tion.

“We’re go­ing to use this money (from the Ox­ford Ju­nior Farm­ers) to sup­port the teacher am­bas­sadors,” Smith said, “and the pro­gram to re­cruit and train and de­ploy.” bches­sell@post­media.com

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