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Upsurge in Demand for AgScape’s Food Literacy Lessons in Ontario Classrooms

It’s only a few weeks into the 2019-2020 school year, but AgScape has already received more than 200 requests from Ontario teachers for in-class agriculture and food lessons.

Lesson requests have more than doubled over the same time last year!

These free, curriculum-linked lessons are taught by Ontario Certified Teachers who are part of AgScape’s Teacher Ambassador Program. They are trained and deployed directly into Grades 7 to 12 classrooms to teach students about various agri-food topics such as local food, climate change, environmental initiatives and careers in agriculture.

“This is the most time I have spent on the phone answering inquiries and booking requests since I started a year ago,” said Cassi Brunsveld, AgScape program assistant.

“Many requests are coming from teachers who were referred by colleagues that have used our programs and resources. It’s awesome to know that the education community is abuzz with interest to bring agriculture and food topics into their classrooms.”

The Milton-based, charity organization is fielding interest from places as close as nearby Mississauga to as far as Manitoulin Island.

“The increased demand in our Teacher Ambassador lessons demonstrates the strong reputation and trust that our organization is building with teachers in Ontario,” said Glenna Banda, AgScape executive director.

“The fact that we provide trained Ontario Certified Teachers to deliver these lessons and that our materials are linked to the current curriculum allows us to provide educators with an unmatched level of support to help them integrate agri-food topics into their classroom teachings,” said Banda.

With 24 teacher ambassadors active across Ontario, AgScape is faced with the good challenge of building the capacity to fulfill the demand for their agri-food programs. Armed with a new strategic plan which focuses on building partnerships, AgScape is working to strengthen its role as the connector between the agri-food sector and education.

“We’re keeping an ear to the ground to understand the challenges facing the sector. We know that labour shortage is a major concern across the agri-food industry. Now is the time for those with a vested interest to get involved to help educate and engage students about careers in agriculture, as well as other pressing issues such as climate change and environmental sustainability,” said Banda.

AgScape relies heavily on funding generated through membership, donations and industry support. To learn more about how you can get involved to support AgScape programs and initiatives, please email info@agscape.ca