CALM Essay Contest

Where: Ontario Classrooms

During March 2020, AgScape will celebrate Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month (CALM) by running its 2nd annual written or video essay contest. This contest will be open to Ontario students in Grades 7-12.

What’s the topic?

This year’s official title is: “Food Literacy: What’s On Your Plate?”

AgScape encourages students to describe how agriculture impacts their daily life and how it will feed the world’s growing population.

All entrants are expected to support their position with credible facts. As you prepare your entry, consider the following:

  • What is food literacy and how does it affect us as a society?
  • Global population is projected to reach 9 billion people by 2050. How will we feed these people?
  • Increasing global consumer interest in how food is produced and processed
  • Popularity and growth of high protein diets featuring plant-based protein
  • Health and fitness driving food buying habits
  • Influence of technology and biotechnology on food production, such as precision agriculture, drones and GMOs (genetically modified organisms)
  • The small number of students entering agriculture and food as a career versus the number of job openings
  • Food Waste: What is it and how do we prevent it?

What’s the deadline?

Midnight on Sunday, April 5th, 2020

Who can enter?

The contest is open to Ontario students in Grades 7 through 12 during the 2019-2020 school year. Contestants are limited to only one written OR video essay entry.

What can students win?

We will be offering three prizes in total. Here’s what our winners will receive: Each winner will receive a pass to the movies as well as win a pizza party for their entire class.

Junior Division (Grade 7 & 8) Winner
Intermediate Division (Grade 9 & 10) Winner
Senior Division (Grade 11 & 12) Winner

What are the rules?

  1. The 2020 AgScape Essay Contest will be divided into three categories:
    Junior Division (Grade 7 & 8)
    Intermediate Division (Grade 9 & 10)
    Senior Division (Grade 11 & 12)

  2. Group and individual submissions will be accepted. Multiple prizes will not be awarded for group entries.

  3. Contestants must compose an original written or video essay. Interviews with industry professionals are acceptable research. Please state your sources wherever possible.

  4. Contestants acknowledge and agree that their entries become the property of AgScape, which has the right to edit, reproduce and/or publish entries without compensation. AgScape can also use the winners’ name and city or town.

  5. Contestants under 18 years of age will require the signature of a parent/guardian on the entry form.

  6. AgScape cannot confirm receipt of entries. AgScape does not accept responsibility for lost, misdirected, illegible, damaged, incomplete, postage due or late entries.

What are the rules of the written essay?

  1. Each entry must begin with a title page containing: official topic “Food Literacy-What’s On Your Plate?”, number of words, writer’s name, address, phone number, date of birth, school name and grade.

  2. Essays must be typed, numbered, double-spaced and contain approximately 400-750 words.

  3. Any quotation or copyrighted materials used in the essay must be identified either in the essay or as a footnote. 

  4. Essay may be written in English or French.

  5. All essays must be accompanied by an entry form, which is included with this package. If emailed, it must be in Word or PDF format. Please send by either mail or email – not both. 

What are the rules for a video essay?

  1. All uploaded videos must be .MP4 and no more than six (6) minutes in length.
  2. The beginning of the video must include the official topic “Food Literacy-What’s On Your Plate?”
  3. The file name of the video must be the topic of the video and the students name (e.g. whatsonyourplate-johnsmith.mp4).
  4. Entry can be in English or French.
  5. Video Format Options:

     •  A PowerPoint designed by the student accompanied by voice over and/or video (e.g. video recording software such as is an easy online tool to record video and PowerPoint)
    •  The video may be made using whiteboard software such as VideoScribe or Screencast-o-matic
    •  Video may include other creative components such as interviews, news broadcast, monologues, dialogues or speeches.

  6. Failure to identify non-original material will result in disqualification. 
  7. All videos must be accompanied by an entry form. Please submit by either mail or email – not both.
  8. Entries must not violate any copyrights or trademarks, including music used in the video.
  9. NOTE: We recommend that you post the video submission on Youtube, then submit the video URL to AgScape in a Word document or pdf along with your entry form.

Who will judge these entries?

A panel of qualified judges will include experts in the agriculture industry and AgScape staff.

How will they be scored?

Written or Video Essay

  1. Material Organization (logical interpretation of the subject, adherence to topic): 40 points
  2. Critical Thinking: 40 points
  3. Creativity: 20 points

We also invite you to visit, for additional information about how you might participate in local events during Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month.

How will I know who won?

The winners of each division (Junior, Intermediate and Senior) will be contacted in April via phone. All winners will be announced to the public and media following the initial phone call. Non-winning entries will not be notified. To check if an entry won, visit the website:

For more information, contact:

Kam Brar, Program Assistant
RE: CALM 2020 Essay Contest

Download the CALM Essay Contest Entry Form

Download the CALM Essay Contest Flyer

Special thanks to…