Ag In the Classroom

AITC_foodcards.jpg

Agriculture In the Classroom (AITC) is a national organization designed to promote all types of agriculture through hands on, interactive learning experiences. This year’s Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month (CALM) topic was excellent (How did that get in my lunchbox?)! Students really connected with the idea of finding out where their food came from before it got to the store. I was able to participate with students in grades 1 through 3 and their observations and questions were amazing!

  • Where do seeds come from?

  • Sunflowers move to follow the sun.

  • How long does it take seeds to grow?

  • Look - I have clementines in my lunch bag!

  • My Dad helps make fertilizer which helps plants to grow.

And, possibly my favorite too… Can we put our hands in the seeds again?

20190319-134228_orig.jpg

If you haven’t experienced and Ag In The Classroom event, it worth checking out the opportunities - as a classroom teacher, farmer or ag-related industry representative.

Read more about one of my classroom visits at the teacher’s blog page: https://mskajatisclassroom.weebly.com/blog

AITC_feelingseeds.jpg


You are what you eat

FoodGuideCover.PNG

Every day, farmers, ranchers and fishers work to harvest from the Earth in order to feed the people.  Somewhere along the path of history, this relationship got complex.  The most recent consultation phase regarding changes to Canada’s Food Guide is now closed.  However, it has raised issues about more than just what Canadians choose to consume every day as part of their diet.  It has also raised the issue about how to advocate for your products in a positive and respectful tone.

Eating is a very personal experience.   Each of us make food choices for a variety of reasons:

  • Eating is social.  I learned this first hand when I broke my jaw and had to eat through a straw for six weeks.  But it doesn’t take something that dramatic to see that shared experiences are shaped by food, and food choices are influenced by social experiences.

     

  • Eating is cultural.  We use food to help us celebrate and to help us mourn.  Think of what we would be missing if Folklorama, or Westman Multicultural Festival did not include food and drinks in the guest experience.  Eating is also part of the everyday culture of farming; meals in the field are part of our farm's culture.

     

  • Eating is influenced by economics.  Food security and food diversity are highly dependent on socioeconomic status.  As a society, as communities, and as individuals, we can influence food security and food waste as part of the overall producer/consumer relationship.

     

All of this brings us back to WHY discussions about changing the food guide are so personal.  Sometimes when things get personal, they can also be emotional.  Demand directly impacts producers, and consumers are influenced by government recommendations, so it is understandable that producers have strong feelings about the food supplies they provide.   

As long as we can maintain a positive, respectful dialogue, producers and consumers can work together to support Canada’s evolving food requirements, sustain the environment and support healthy choices for citizens.

We welcome any opportunity to have a conversation about what we grow – feel free to comment below, or contact us directly at Teresa@FarmFemmes.com or Karen@FarmFemmes.com

Food Find for Kids

Growing up on a farm means learning about equipment, weather and the cycle of life is just part of the everyday conversation.  However, farm kids are not the only ones who need the chance to learn about life on the farm! 

It is easy to find touch-and-feel board books of farm animals and there are even puzzles that make the farm animal sounds as you place the piece in the correct place.  But, as kids get older, how do we help kids to know what farming is about?  When in doubt, start with food. A documentary called Before The Plate (Dylan Sher) is expected out this year and is based on the notion that food has a story that begins long before it gets to the plate.  Although the documentary is intended for adults, the same idea works with kids.

On our farm we produce a variety of cereal grains and oil seeds.  Kids always love a great scavenger hunt, so here is a framework of ideas for them to hunt down and connect to the crops we grow on our farm.  Of course, you can change the level of difficulty depending on the age of your kids, but a digital camera and a little challenge can open an opportunity for a lot of conversation.

20180128_203050.jpg

Oats: oatmeal, cookies, cereal

Wheat: bread, cookies, pasta, pancake mix

Flax: bread, crackers, oatmeal

Canola: margarine, canola oil

Sunflowers: sunflower oil, whole shell-on sunflowers, salads

Corn: cereal, corn bread, tortillas, corn syrup, whole kernel corn

Our last family scavenger hunt involved bonus points for pictures that included all team members with the item, so remember to have fun with the idea.  Kids will continue to surprise us with their insights and questions if we take time to engage them in the conversation.

Stay tuned tomorrow for kids and cows!