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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 19, Number 3, Nov./Dec. 2006

A taste of farming for classroom teachers

by Julia Poole

The summer institute organized by the BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation and set in the pristine meadows of Montfort House on Vancouver Island, not only provided teachers with the experience of hands-on farm life but with the culinary delight of farm fresh local foods as well. Engaging speakers and learning activities helped teachers to become more knowledgeable about Canada’s and BC’s farming and food production. Field trips offered first-hand opportunities to talk with the farmers who bring our food to our local markets. This program is one of the hidden treasures of teacher professional development.

Chef Daniel Lesnes of Garibaldi Secondary conjured up culinary delights for each meal, connecting our learning with real-life experiences. This inspired me to bring the same experience to my students, to help them understand how our food is grown here in BC and the many hands that work together to bring food to our tables. The experience helped me understand how important it is to develop the connection between our food production and my students’ food consumption, their health, lifestyle, and job futures.

The opportunity for teachers to learn about agriculture from other teachers who specialize in this field was made possible through the support and sponsorship of BC farmers and producers. The enthusiasm of Lindsay Babineau, executive director of AITC, is contagious and the results of her efforts to create a comprehensive and informative, fun-filled learning experience for teachers of BC are well worth spending some of your summer holidays to see. If you have never lived on a farm, this is one life experience you will not want to miss. The course can be taken for UBC credit through professor Gale Smith of the Home Economics and Continuing Education Department. Information and projects for classroom use can be found on the Agriculture in the Classroom web site at www.aitc.ca/bc.

Julia Poole is an ICT/Applied Skills Helping Teacher, Surrey. poole_j@sd36.bc.ca.

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