Celebrating Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” the reporter asked Michael and Mia. They excitedly responded: “A farmer! A farmer!”

The Adventures of Michael and Mia might be a fictional story, but it is one that has hit home with elementary students across the country. It follows twins Michael and Mia as they plant their first garden, while drawing comparisons to how farmers are stewards of the land. This book is just one of the great agricultural stories that will be read to students across the province this month as part of Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month. Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month is an Agriculture in the Classroom initiative bringing agriculture to life in Canadian classrooms as students participate in activities to learn about, connect to and understand this important industry. In Saskatchewan, Agriculture in the Classroom celebrates the month by arranging for industry volunteers—farmers, ranchers and professionals—to visit classrooms across the province and share their personal agricultural experiences and read a story.

This program was launched in 2012, when a week in March was declared Canadian Agriculture Literacy Week. Last year, the program reached more than 4,000 students in Saskatchewan, thanks to the support of more than 100 industry volunteers. Due to popular demand, the program has now grown to last an entire month. If the program is to continue to expand, more producers need to step up (even if it’s outside their comfort zones) and participate in the celebrations.

There are two ways to get involved: 1. Volunteer to visit a classroom – a classroom visit only takes an hour, and Agriculture in the Classroom provides everything you need, including the story books and suggestions for activities. 2. Encourage teachers to sign up – help spread the word to elementary teachers about this free, curriculum-linked program. Not all kids are quite as sure about what they want to be when they grow as Michael and Mia, but thanks to programs like this, agriculture is at least on the radar for students who participate.

Penny McCall with the Ministry of Agriculture’s Crops and Irrigation Branch fields questions from grade one children during Ag Literacy Month.
This article was first published in March 2017 Agriview. Republished with permission.


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