Something exciting is happening in the world of education and I could not be more excited about it! Agriculture is coming to secondary schools in Ontario. It’s a smart move that’s taken too long to happen. I should back up… Agriculture isn’t in schools yet. But talks are starting on the importance of agriculture and food literacy in the classroom. We’re one step closer to ag in Ontario classrooms. Check out this article on realagriculture.com for a little bit more information on the motion.
Youth are the future of any industry, and the agricultural sector passes them by. Why do we do that? At 18 years old, high school students are looking for options for the next step in their life. Let’s present agriculture as an option for them. It’s accessible for all levels of education: workplace apprenticeship, college, or university. It seems, however, that ag is ignored in high school classrooms. In all the talks I had with my guidance counselors, not one of them presented to me agriculture as a career opportunity. In all of the assemblies I had to sit through in Grade 12 about my post-secondary options, not once was agriculture mentioned. Even at university fairs and career presentations, agriculture was passed right by. It’s a field (pardon the pun) that I barely knew about until I got to university.
Presenting ag to high school students starts earlier than Grade 12. You have to introduce food literacy to them at an early age. Start in elementary school with where food comes from. Move up in the beginning of the high school years by teaching students how to make meals for themselves. Once you build this foundation you can start to teach about jobs in ag. Students won’t be excited about working in a field they don’t even know about. We need to reinforce that agriculture is with us all day, everyday. This creates interest in agriculture. That’s when we can show them agriculture as a career. That’s how we engage youth and make them the foundation of our industry.
Emma — The Suburban Aggie
PS., check out FoodShare Toronto for an awesome organization that’s promoting food literacy in urban and suburban schools