Food Farm pro­vides a har­vest of knowl­edge

The Southwest Booster - - FRONT PAGE - SCOTT AN­DER­SON SOUTH­WEST BOOSTER

Lo­cal stu­dents had a hand­son op­por­tu­nity to learn about food pro­duc­tion at the wrap up day Swift Cur­rent Food Farm project.

The Septem­ber 20 event al­lowed the same stu­dents who helped plant a num­ber of gar­den items in the spring to re­turn and have a chance to har­vest a small vegetable plot. Stu­dents had a chance to dig out car­rots, onions, turn ap­ples into ap­ple juice, plus learn from a series of other in­for­ma­tive stops. The project was done in part­ner­ship with Agri­cul­ture In The Class­room, Agri­cul­ture and Agri­food Canada, Saskatchewan Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture, along with var­i­ous other spon­sors and part­ners.

Kerry Laforge, Man­ager, Range and For­age Divi­sion with Agri­cul­ture and Agri-food Canada’s Swift Cur­rent Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Cen­tre, said the learn­ing sta­tions helped them de­liver some im­por­tant in­for­ma­tion to the stu­dents.

“We all come to­gether to show kids where their food comes from, be­cause I think there’s that dis­con­nect be­tween the plate and where does it ac­tu­ally come from,” Laforge said.

“It’s not just as sim­ple as run­ning to the gro­cery store and buy­ing that bag of po­ta­toes,” she added. “So it’s just a re­ally great op­por­tu­nity to ed­u­cate the kids. And then in turn they go home and they ed­u­cate their par­ents.”

Laforge said be­ing sit­u­ated at a site next to the Re­search Sta­tion helps them pro­vide a di­rect con­nec­tion be­tween food pro­duc­tion and their re­search ef­forts.

“The Agri­cul­ture and Agri­food Canada sta­tion is a great place to host it, be­ing that we do re­search fo­cus­ing on agri­cul­ture. It’s just get­ting that un­der­stand­ing that the work that we do here is im­por­tant. Why? Be­cause it’s where we get our food from.”

This year’s Food Farm theme al­lowed them to have a broader se­lec­tion of pre­sen­ta­tions in­stead of pre­vi­ous themes of a break­fast farm and a pizza food farm.

“We just went straight to a Food Farm, be­cause then we could make it as broad or as nar­row as we wanted. Food Farm, we could talk about any­thing. When it’s break­fast we might be lim­ited.”

Kari Bur­nett, an Agri­cul­tural Pro­gram Spe­cial­ist with the Saskatchewan Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture in Swift Cur­rent, added the day was a fun op­por­tu­nity for the stu­dents.

“We love to see kids come out and get ex­cited about agri­cul­ture. And the teach­ers are re­ally ex­cited I think to have them get their hands dirty and ac­tu­ally learn some stuff that they wouldn’t nor­mally think about do­ing in a class­room.”

The Ag in the Class­room pro­gram ties into school cur­ricu­lum top­ics. In Grade Three, the stu­dents were learn­ing about soils and plants, while this year’s Grade Four stu­dents are learn­ing about Agri­cul­ture in Saskatchewan, which is part of the So­cial Stud­ies cur­ricu­lum.

Bur­nett said the Food Farm of­fered di­verse dis­plays so stu­dents would re­ceive a glimpse at the many im­por­tant as­pects of agri­cul­ture in the prov­ince.

“It’s a good cross sec­tion we’re show­ing them to­day. And they’re get­ting to sam­ple some food, which is al­ways ex­cit­ing too. Which is what the whole point of the project is, is to show them where their food comes from and the im­por­tant role that this mod­ern agri­cul­ture in Saskatchewan plays in food pro­duc­tion.”

An es­ti­mated 200 stu­dents par­tic­i­pated from from Cen­ten­nial, All Saints, Fairview, and O.M. Ir­win School in Swift Cur­rent, along with the Spring Lake Colony. Stu­dents had an op­por­tu­nity to visit 11 dif­fer­ent learn­ing sta­tions dur­ing the Food Farm tour in Swift Cur­rent on Septem­ber 20.

SCOTT AN­DER­SON/SOUTH­WEST BOOSTER

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