The organization needs 100 volunteers for Ag Literacy Month
By Diego Flammini
A Manitoba ag organization needs volunteers for ag literacy activities in March.
Agriculture in the Classroom Manitoba (AITC-M) is short about 100 volunteers to fulfill requests from teachers for Ag Literacy Month.
More than 200 classrooms, representing close to 5,000 Manitoba students, have already registered for presentations this year.
And organization time is running out, said Katharine Cherewyk, AITC Manitoba’s executive director.
“We have until about Feb. 3 to set all the volunteer and teacher registrations,” she told Farms.com. “We have seen an increase in the number of requests from French schools. So if any farmers or people in the industry speak French, we’d love for them to register as a volunteer.”
Potential volunteers don’t only have to be farmers.
They can come from any part of the ag sector, Cherewyk said.
“Truck drivers who transport livestock help food get from a farm to a plate,” she said. “People who work in marketing and communications help food get from a farm to a plate, but in a different way. We want those people to go into a classroom and say, ‘this is the job that I do.’ And we want students to develop and understanding that agriculture is more than food production.”
Participants will be working with students in grades two, three and four.
AITC-M tries to match the schools with a volunteer from the community. The organization also supports the volunteers with resources and training to help them develop a presentation that’s roughly an hour long.
“There’s not a whole lot of preparation needed,” Cherewyk said. “It can be as easy as asking students if they know what toast is made of, where it comes from, and going from there.”
Introducing ag literacy to students at a young age is important.
Policies and strategies being developed now are designed for when these students are adults.
“You hear people talk about what’s going to happen in 2050, and the people who are going to be doing that work are the kids in school now,” Cherewyk said. “We need to make sure the people writing briefing notes for the Pest Management Regulatory Agency, or Health Canada, actually know what agriculture is and how to think critically about these issues.
“And for those young people now who may not work in agriculture as adults, we want them to grow up to be informed consumers and understand how their food got to the dinner table and use their dollars to support local agriculture.”
Anyone interested in volunteering can register on AITC-M’s website or contact Program & Volunteer Manager Larissa Peitsch.