Ag in the Classroom brings The Real Dirt on Farming into Canadian classrooms

Posted on February 24, 2021

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Farm & Food Care (FFC) and Agriculture in the Classroom Canada (AITC-C) have designed a classroom resource to give students and teachers across Canada the opportunity to dig deeper into the latest edition of The Real Dirt on Farming (RDOF). 

The Real Dirt on Farming in the Classroom was produced by AITC-C, working in collaboration with FFC. With the help of AITC-C’s provincial agriculture in the classroom organizations, it will be distributed digitally, along with the RDOF booklet, to classrooms across Canada. 

Lesson plans in the 36-page document enable students to engage with the RDOF while examining its key areas – animal welfare, crops and plants, sustainability, agriculture policy, hot topics in our food system and more. 

The Real Dirt on Farming in the Classroom accompanies the fifth edition of the RDOF booklet which was released in November, 2020. To date, 4.5 million copies of the prior editions have been distributed across Canada to libraries, doctors’ offices, Registered Dietitians, political leaders, educators, and through inserts in national publications. 

Bonnie den Haan, Chair of Farm & Food Care Ontario, said that the partnership between AITC-C and Farm & Food Care builds on the strengths of both organizations. “Working with AITC-C to create this curriculum-based document will extend the reach of our flagship publication even further. We’re excited to see this partnership taking The Real Dirt on Farming into classrooms from coast to coast.”

“We are pleased to bring The Real Dirt on Farming in the Classroom into the hands of Canadian educators,” said Johanne Ross, Executive Director of AITC-C. “We want students to be curious and excited about learning about Canada’s agriculture and food story. Through this resource, we are providing teachers with a link to bring this story to life in the classroom.”

The publication as well as the educator guide is currently available online on a newly-developed website at RealDirtonFarming.ca and aitc-canada.ca. Hard copies of the classroom resource will be available later in the year. 

In total, more than 25 companies and agribusinesses across Canada supported The Real Dirt on Farming project. Farm Credit Canada was one of the champion level partners, putting its $20,000 contribution entirely into the development of the classroom resource. Marty Seymour, Director of Industry Relations for Farm Credit Canada, said, “The gap between the industry and students can sometimes feel pretty wide. Packing up content in this format is the most effective way for our industry to reach the next generation who will be the decision makers of the future.”

The project was also funded, in part, through the AgriCompetitiveness program of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal, provincial, territorial initiative.