The Gleaner
Agriculture

Locals feature in launch of 10th annual Agriculture Literacy Month

The Valley was well represented on March 1, as young people from across the country tuned in to celebrate the launch of the 10th anniversary of Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month (CALM). The event began with a series of live online farm tours, including a virtual visit to an egg farm as well as a dairy barn.

The launch was moderated by Saint-Chrysostome native Mathieu Rouleau, founder and president of École-O-Champ, and by invited guest Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

The real-time interactive farm tours were produced by École-O-Champ in partnership with Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC-C), and included a live conversation with dairy farmer Jenna Soesbergen, who answered questions about her family’s third-generation farm in Dundee.

 

Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, launched the 10th annual Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month on March 1.

 

Bibeau, who is Canada’s first female minister of agriculture, spoke about the importance of encouraging young people to be curious about agriculture and of inspiring them to imagine a career in an agriculture-related field. She explained that when she was appointed minister, she was meeting with mostly men, though farms are most often run by families; she noted how important it is to ensure a future for women and youth in agriculture. She credits programs such as Agriculture in the Classroom and École-O-Champ for helping to prioritize agriculture education.

CALM aims to connect classrooms from kindergarten to Grade 11 (or 12, outside Quebec) across all 10 provinces with farmers and other people with a passion for agriculture and food. During a normal year, classroom visits would take place in person or involve visits to a farm.

École-O-Champ became a provincial Member of AITC-C in 2020, but had previously been already involved with Agriculture Literacy Month initiatives across Quebec.

For Rouleau, the opportunity to incorporate agriculture, food and environmental sciences into learning opportunities for students is exciting. “If they are able to be agriculture-literate by the age of 18, I’m pretty sure we will be living in a different society,” he says, pointing out the important role in shaping the social, cultural, and economic worlds of tomorrow that will be played by a strong understanding of agriculture and food origins. “I love learning more, and I was born and raised in it.”

(SR)

 

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