Making agri-food matter in

AgScape has been helping students become food and agriculture literate for over 25 years through innovative events, programs and resources. Our curriculum-linked approach effectively delivers agriculture education to students—2017 was no different.

Our Board of Directors

Audrie Bouwmeester headshot
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Audrie Bouwmeester

Chair
(Corporate Director)

Deb Campbell headshot
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Deb Campbell

Community Director

Kathryn Doan headshot
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Kathryn Doan

Vice Chair
(Corporate Director)

Peter Hohenadel headshot
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Peter Hohenadel

Corporate Director

Lorie Jocius headshot
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Lorie Jocius

Past Chair
(Community Director)

Mark Kerry headshot
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Mark Kerry

Corporate Director

Jim McMillan headshot
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Jim McMillan

Community Director

Charlotte O'Neil headshot
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Charlotte O’Neill

Corporate Director

Jennifer Peart headshot
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Jennifer Peart

Treasurer
(Corporate Director)

Meaghan Ryersee headshot
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Meaghan Ryersee

Corporate Director

Stephanie Szusz headshot
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Stephanie Szusz

Corporate Director

Natalie Walt headshot
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Natalie Walt

Community Director

Not Pictured: Helen Scutt, Board Advisor, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs and Catherine Mahler, Board Advisor, Ontario Ministry of Education

Our Staff

Sharon Bowes Headshot
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Sharon Bowes

Finance & Operations Director

Sheri Budram Headshot
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Sheri Budhram

Digital Content & Data Administrator

Kirsty Klaas Headshot
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Kirsty Klaas

Senior Executive Assistant/Administrative Coordinator

Jenny Mayer Headshot
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Jenny Mayer

Project & Partnership Assistant

Beckey Parker Headshot
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Becky Parker

Project & Partnership Strategist

Catherine Reining Headshot
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Catherine Reining

Program and Resource Manager

Taylor Selig Headshot
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Taylor Selig

Manager of Community & Business Development

Colleen Smith Headshot
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Colleen Smith

Executive Director

Large circular photo of Colleen Smith, Executive Director of AgScape

A message from Colleen Smith Executive Director

The #1 reason for students to choose a career in agriculture = feeding the world – according to a recent national study (thinkAG AITC-Canada). Clearly the next generation has a global mindset. And with nearly 2 million students in Ontario’s elementary and secondary school system – that’s a lot of brain power to be harnessed towards our agriculture industries. Students are the innovators, influencers, policymakers and visionaries of tomorrow…all in classrooms today. With Ontario’s food production sector primed to remain a key world player in ‘feeding the world’ – we will need lots of local skills. But how do we entice all that talent to work in agri-food?

click here
to
read
the rest
Large circular photo of Audrie Bouwmeester, Board Chair of AgScape

A message from Audrie
Bouwmeester
Board Chair

As I reflect on the successes and challenges of the past year, I am struck by two things. First, the perseverance and dedication of the AgScape team is second to none. They have overcome obstacles and delivered our mandate to the best of their ability. Second, is the unwavering belief we share; it is possible to affect public perception through the education of our youth.

click here
to
read
the rest

a 2017 to be proud of

More students benefited from events, programs and resources that embrace and reflect all aspects of agriculture and agri‑food. Here are our highlights for 2017.

An icon of a male teacher holding a pointing stick wearing a tie

2,653 teachers

requested curriculum-linked resources from agscape.ca, conferences, education events and mailings

An icon of a piece of paper with writing on it

13,805 resources

were delivered to teachers across Ontario

An icon of a female student wearing a graduation cap and gown

303,710 students

were reached by AgScape’s curriculum‑linked resources

Teacher Ambassadors shared their passion for Ag

In 2017, our Teacher Ambassadors supported events and organizations through classroom lessons, tours and exhibits.

click here to learn more about the Teacher Ambassador Program

This learning experience brought value to my students by providing an expert in the field that could come and talk to them about the subject matter.

Grade 9/10/12 Family Studies/Food & Nutrition teacher, Martingrove Collegiate Institute, Toronto, Ontario

It provides students with a different perspective and allows the opportunity for more interactive learning.

Grade 9/11 Food and Nutrition teacher, Stratford Northwestern Secondary School, Stratford Ontario

100% of teachers

surveyed after a Teacher Ambassador lesson said they would include agriculture and food topics in future lessons.

AgScape brought Ag to life in the classroom during Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month

As a member of Agriculture in the Classroom-Canada (AITC), AgScape celebrates Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month (CALM) annually each March to bring agriculture alive in Ontario classrooms as students participate in activities to learn about, connect to and understand this important industry.

Teacher Ambassadors

provided lessons covering agri-food topics for grades 7–12

National Live Stream

Provided resources to extend learning beyond participation in the live stream

Social Media Presence

Promotional campaign on facebook and twitter with over 75,000 impressions

#MyFoodStory #CALM17

Encouraged industry and the public to share a video about their food story

Equipping Teachers

Provided special CALM resource packages with national and provincial lessons

CALM Proclamation in the Ontario Legislature

Improving agri-food literacy helps us to eat healthier, supports a sustainable environment and creates jobs in every corner of Ontario.

Hon. Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

click here to
read the full proclamation

Some new ways that we reached students

Students attended our 2017 AGM

We hosted the first ever genAG Career Competition

Partnered with 4‑H Ontario to create and host the Your Future in Agriculture event

Six thumbs up
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here to
learn
more

70%

of students said the event increased their interest in agriculture and food careers.

Our online presence in 2017

AgScape.ca

8,405

users

12,199

visits

2 min
27 sec

average visit length

Coming in 2018 The Business of Food An agri-food literacy program for AgScape's Teacher Ambassadors

a year of strong industry partnerships and collaborations

some of the partners we had the pleasure to work with in 2017

AgScape worked with

4-H Ontario and the Simcoe County District School Board

in the planning and delivery of Your Future in Agriculture, an agri-food leadership certificate course and career competition, delivered October 26, 2017 in Mount Forest with 115 students in attendance from 5 schools.

AgScape collaborated with

25 OAAS registered agricultural societies

across the province to promote and distribute 1,192 ag-education curriculum resource kits to teachers and students who attended their events in order to expand our classroom reach.

Ministry of Education

placed all 4 of AgScape's Contextualized Learning Activities on their SHSM e-community website and provided the opportunity for a presentation at their SHSM Board Lead summit in May 2017

AgScape partnered with

Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show, AgCareers.com, John Deere, Maizex, Growmark, Monsanto, OSCIA, 4-H Ontario, OAC, and OFA

to deliver FarmShowGo! a career scavenger hunt for students and teachers, with a total of 12 career activity stops and 200 students participating

AgScape worked with

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, the Ontario School Counsellors’ Assoication and Dalhousie University

on the Royal's Educator Symposium, presenting on the Teacher Ambassador Program, moderating a panel of recent graduates on agri-food careers, and running a booth showcasing our programs and resources.

Stakeholders we can depend on

A message from the AITC Chair Person & AgScape Executive Director, Colleen Smith

It’s a privilege to serve as the current Chair of AITC-Canada. We have a dedicated staff and board at the national level, and countless supporters, funders and volunteers at the provincial levels across this great nation. Some of our most noteworthy accomplishments included attaining our charitable status and adding two more provinces to our national board. We now proudly number nine on our way to full coverage with every province and territory. With a new brand and social media ID’s, we launched new resources and secured new funding with our first ever GF2 grant. Energy and impact infuse our goals, and I invite you to visit www.aitc-canada.ca where we unpack the story of our extensive 2017 achievements in more detail.

Sincerest thanks to all!

A message from Colleen Smith, Executive Director

The #1 reason for students to choose a career in agriculture = feeding the world – according to a recent national study (thinkAG AITC-Canada) Clearly the next generation has a global mindset. And with nearly 2 million students in Ontario’s elementary and secondary school system – that’s a lot of brain power to be harnessed towards our agriculture industries. Students are the innovators, influencers, policymakers and visionaries of tomorrow…all in classrooms today. With Ontario’s food production sector primed to remain a key world player in ‘feeding the world’ – we will need lots of local skills. But how do we entice all that talent to work in agri-food?

AgScape’s mandate to deliver clear, unbiased agri-food messaging and career information to students across the province directly fuels their curiosity to explore ag careers. A critical component if we are to retain the best talent for Ontario. Your future is literally in their hands!

That said, it has never been more important for our sector to have a strong, unified and impartial voice in Ontario’s classrooms.

That voice is AgScape.

We are proud of our accomplishments - showcased in our new, digital Annual General Report. Our talented staff and hard-working board are deeply appreciated. They are joined by many industry supporters who also believe in our core purpose to ‘create agriculture, food literacy and career engagement by supporting student learning’. The future looks bright indeed!

A message from Audrie Bouwmeester, Board Chair

As I reflect on the successes and challenges of the past year, I am struck by two things. First, the perseverance and dedication of the AgScape team is second to none. They have overcome obstacles and delivered our mandate to the best of their ability. Second, is the unwavering belief we share; it is possible to affect public perception through the education of our youth.

The staff at AgScape has worked tirelessly through the year to overcome challenges. They are a small group but have continued to provide excellent resources to teachers and education groups. They are committed to providing agri-lessons through the Teacher Ambassador Program and when faced with underfunding, they found ways to reduce spending and sought sources of alternate funding through grants and sponsorships. Board members from diverse backgrounds have provided strength, advice and direction to the AgScape team in the ever changing landscape of agricultural education. All have a passion for informing and educating today's youth. Each has given their time and energy to pursue sponsorship and funding from new and old sources. Wherever possible they have attended meetings and events in the agricultural community to share the story of AgScape and seek support.

We are working to alter the landscape of education - to incorporate agriculture into every classroom across Ontario - from kindergarten to grade twelve. We're doing that through our resources and programs, we're teaching students about agriculture from the basics of operations to the complex issues facing our industry. Special events and collaborations with other groups like 4H and Farm and Food Care Ontario also allow us to engage students in opportunities for inquiry and discovery.

We teach and we educate. It's what we do. Altering public perception is an incredible by product of our efforts. Students between 12 and 18 years of age are developing their own schema of information and opinion. This schema becomes their foundation for decision making. It becomes stronger and more deeply rooted as they age making it harder to alter their opinions or affect their decisions. If Agriculture as a whole is going to shift public perception to a more fact-based, positive light, then AgScape is more relevant than ever. The more opportunities we have to get in front of students and add a positive message to their growing schema the stronger the shift in public perception in the future.

If ever there was a time for us to step up and lead, it is now. And that is exactly what we are doing. From the outside, our organization seems to glide effortlessly, but I know how different the reality is. My deep thanks go to our board, the staff, and all of our members for your commitment to the hard work involved in continually creating AgScape.

Treasurer's Report

It has been an incredible learning experience in my first year as Treasurer of AgScape and it has been a privilege working with a highly engaged board and staff team.

I would like to take this opportunity to extend heartfelt thanks to all our stakeholders, particularly to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs, for over 27 years of ongoing support for agri-food literacy, the core foundation of AgScape.

In 2017, our focus continued to be investing in ourselves to build programs that can be used to educate Ontario's students from K - 12. Driven by curriculum linked activities and experiential learning, our programs are supported by a Teacher Ambassador lesson in the classroom or via an online interactive portal. Our main goal for 2018 is to continue to seek external partners to invest in AgScape. This growth will be facilitated by hiring a new Director of Philanthropy to focus on generating additional revenue to increase our capacity to deliver valuable ag education programs.

Our long-term investment strategy served us well in 2017 as we have a balanced portfolio of GICs and high yielding Canadian dividend equities to maintain our principal balances. At the same time, we generated valuable interest income of $73,000, which can be used internally to fund core programming.

AgScape operating revenue is similar to 2016 ($723k - 2016) and ($718k in 2017). AgScape posted a $286k deficit in 2016 and a$193k deficit in 2017. It was a unanimous decision of the board of directors to invest in ourselves by drawing $175k from the Healthy Eating Fund to continue to fund projects close to completion.

On a positive note, the overall net asset holdings of AgScape is $1.7million, which will provide long term sustainability for AgScape as we continue to move forward with our mission to engage students in the agricultural sector.

A copy of the 2017 Audited financial statements are available on our website at AgScape.ca or they can be requested in hard copy format from the office by calling 905-878-1510.

Respectfully submitted by Treasurer Jennifer Peart

A message from the AITC Chair Person, Colleen Smith

Consider the number 5,233,912.

That's how many unique, independent, eating, thinking, behaving, learning and developing minds we have in our Canadian school system on any given day.

What organization would be talented and bold enough to impact this energetic culture in a meaningful way? And who will deliver the facts about a topic as important as the food we eat, something that touches every person on our planet?

Well - step aside because Agriculture in the Classroom Canada has not only taken up this challenge, it is running successfully towards the goal line!

Diversity and collaboration are hallmarks of AITC Canada, mirroring the values and hopes of our nation's next generation of consumers - our students. Nine provinces strong and with a mandate to include all provinces and territories, our group of educators and program experts deliver a plethora of agri-food focused facts, activities, programs and resources into Canadian classrooms every day. It's a "behind the scenes" kind of mission, delivering concrete outcomes for students who will understand where their food comes from, how to choose local, and how to think critically about complex topics.

With the world's largest supply of land and fresh water, Canada has a huge responsibility when it comes to world food production. The next generation of consumers sitting our nation's classrooms today will be the food heroes of tomorrow.

Our purpose is clear. Student learning can't be left to chance. We thank our committed staff, volunteers, stakeholders, and supporters, your hard work and partnering is essential to our success.