Planting seeds of knowledge about agriculture in the classroom

Alberta Women’s Institutes deliver information about farming 
to students throughout the province

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Expect to see a whole lot more pumpkins this fall — and a lot more kids with a better understanding of where food comes from.

Members of the Alberta Women’s Institutes will be going to schools across the province to talk about farming and the food on the dinner table. The goal of the project, called “Food and Farmers — What’s the Connection?” is to go to at least 45 communities and reach as many as 10,000 students in Grades 1 to 3. The children will be given a folder of information, which includes pumpkin seeds.

“Alberta Women’s Institutes recognizes the role agriculture plays in all our lives,” said Faye Mayberry, the co-ordinator of the project and organization’s incoming president.

“We take a special interest in promoting the importance of the industry to children in our province.”

School officials are eager to have their members come in and talk to their students, many of whom don’t realize food comes from farms, said current president Brenda Willsie.

“Any of the schools that I have spoken with, or spoken with members who have talked to schools, we are very welcome,” said Willsie.

The project is due to start later this month and continue until mid-June.

“Unfortunately a lot of children are disconnected from the farm,” said David Sprague, CEO of Ag for Life, one of the program’s sponsors.

The program is complementary to an Ag for Life initiative, the Classroom Agriculture Program, which is aimed at students in Grade 4, he said.

The hands-on, pumpkin seed-growing approach will be a hit, he predicted.

“At this point of their lives they’re inquisitive… they get totally amazed by things that grow,” Sprague said.

It’s hoped the students will take the information and seeds home and talk to their parents about it as well, he added.

Ag for Life put $5,000 towards the project, which was matched by the provincial government, Sprague said. Hannas Seeds and Deermart are also sponsors.

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