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Agricultural education for children builds local loyalty

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It has become apparent that the lack of agricultural education for children is impacting their understanding of what farms actually accomplish for our community. With the amount of distractions that technology has provided, children are becoming distant in their understanding of where their food actually comes from.

A study conducted by Kingston University in London has shown that trips to farms provide an excellent foundation for educating children in agriculture. Dr Frances Harris, author of the report, describes how these field trips are an opportunity for farmers and children to break down stereotypes that are common within our culture. It gives children the understanding that a bottle of milk is a finished product of a complex process. Dr Harris has also believes that experience with animals and farmers imparts a lasting impression on children far beyond textbooks.

The lessons don’t end in the classroom, with such a meaningful experience. Parents have acknowledged that discussions they have with their children after a field trip to the farm are filled with knowledge.  54 percent of parents confess that they have learnt something about farming from their children after these field trips. These trips are also impacting consumer behavior, with 16 percent of parents more willing to purchase local or organic produce.

These trips have proven to be influential on entire families. But barriers continue to exist in providing hands on experience for children to learn where the food they eat comes from. While programs exist to support farmers and schools, they lack in providing adequate funding. More can be accomplished if our communities work together and understand the importance of educating children on agriculture through first-hand experience. It imparts knowledge on children and builds local loyalty at a young and impressionable age.
 


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Video: Follow the Potato Farmer

We are taking students out to southern Manitoba to Hespler Farms! Farmer Wayne will teach students how he plants and cares for his potato crop and why potatoes are such a unique crop to grow. Teachers, check out your AITC Dashboard for Math'd Potatoes, a potato-themed classroom resource to pair with this tour video. Thank you to Peak of the Market and Penner Farm Services for making this event possible.
 

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