I’m going to give you a heads up now: this post isn’t about agriculture. It is about school, though not university (well, not entirely about university). Though it’s not centered on either of those topics, I urge you to read this whole post – it’s important.
I’m currently taking a class titled Agroecology (AGR*2050) and I’m a little surprised to be one of the few people in that class that already knows everything. Not to say that I’m surprised that I know all the material already – I’m surprise nobody else knows it. Isn’t it common sense?! Let me explain further…
On Monday, our lecture was on food webs. Yes, food webs. I arrived to class thinking “Oh, brother. This is going to be grade 4 all over again.” The prof asked us a semi-rhetoric question: “What are trophic levels?” Now, to be fair, you could chalk up the lack of response to typical university student-style apathy. Regardless, it seemed that in that class that I was the only one with a knowledgable, working definition of trophic levels (A trophic level is the level of producer or consumer along a food chain. For example, a mouse that eats a weed is a primary consumer – second level trophic level.) I thought that concept had been taught in grade school! And then again in high school, and again in any basic biology course.
Now, maybe I have a jump on the knowledge because I’m a camp counsellor that teaches outdoor education. Or maybe it’s because I spent a semester in high school at an environmental education site (The Bronte Creek Project, or BCP). I don’t know what it is, but I’m glad I know my ecology coming into this year. Even beyond the agroecology course, ecology is everywhere in the world – and a foundation of agriculture.
My friend from BCP, Twoey, messaged me the other day. I haven’t seen her in three years, but she sent me a message to let me know that this blog was teaching her lots and she loved reading it! (She’s currently in Haiti, working with street youth. Read more about her adventures here!) Getting a message from her inspired me to write this letter as my blog post this week:
Dear Bronte Creek Project,
Thank you. Thank you for everything. Though it happened indirectly, I firmly believe that you are part of the reason I am studying agriculture. Thank you for teaching me ecological concepts, and for allowing me to teach them to others. Thank you for letting me hold a chicken – even now, it’s still the most direct contact with the agricultural world I’ve experienced.
I’d really like to thank you for allowing me to teach Earthkeepers. Being able to teach young kids about the connections in their world is incredibly important, and leads to a sound understanding of human impact. It even challenged me to think of my own impacts, and how the choices I make everyday can affect the world around me – and that the world around me effects the choices I make everyday. The basic ecological concepts that are part of Earthkeepers still resonate with me all the time, and I’m proud to say that I passed on this knowledge to others.
Also, thank you for my brief introduction to agriculture. I never realized that holding a chicken for ten seconds would eventually lead to studies in ag, or an imagined ag lifestyle. But it did. I’m not sure how much of an impact it did make, but it made some. And when it comes to doubting my decision to switch into agriculture, I can always remember just how happy I was to be holding that chicken.
Finally, thank you for everyone that I met. I cannot begin to explain the connections I formed with the people I went to school with for just one semester. I hope you know how special you are, BCP, because I’ll never forget it.
Peace and Love,
Keep Calm and Farm On,
Emma — The Suburban Aggie