Local students had a hands-on opportunity to learn about food production at the wrap up day Swift Current Food Farm project.
The September 20 event allowed the same students who helped plant a number of garden items in the spring to return and have a chance to harvest a small vegetable plot. Students had a chance to dig out carrots, onions, turn apples into apple juice, plus learn from a series of other informative stops. The project was done in partnership with Agriculture In The Classroom, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, along with various other sponsors and partners.
Kerry LaForge, Manager, Range and Forage Division with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Swift Current Research and Development Centre, said the learning stations helped them deliver some important information to the students.
“We all come together to show kids where their food comes from, because I think there’s that disconnect between the plate and where does it actually come from,” LaForge said.
“It’s not just as simple as running to the grocery store and buying that bag of potatoes,” she added. “So it’s just a really great opportunity to educate the kids. And then in turn they go home and they educate their parents.”
LaForge said being situated at a site next to the Research Station helps them provide a direct connection between food production and their research efforts.
“The Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada station is a great place to host it, being that we do research focusing on agriculture. It’s just getting that understanding that the work that we do here is important. Why? Because it’s where we get our food from.”
This year’s Food Farm theme allowed them to have a broader selection of presentations instead of previous themes of a breakfast farm and a pizza food farm.
“We just went straight to a Food Farm, because then we could make it as broad or as narrow as we wanted. Food Farm, we could talk about anything. When it’s breakfast we might be limited.”
Kari Burnett, an Agricultural Program Specialist with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture in Swift Current, added the day was a fun opportunity for the students.
“We love to see kids come out and get excited about agriculture. And the teachers are really excited I think to have them get their hands dirty and actually learn some stuff that they wouldn’t normally think about doing in a classroom.”
The Ag in the Classroom program ties into school curriculum topics. In Grade Three, the students were learning about soils and plants, while this year’s Grade Four students are learning about Agriculture in Saskatchewan, which is part of the Social Studies curriculum.
Burnett said the Food Farm offered diverse displays so students would receive a glimpse at the many important aspects of agriculture in the province.
“It’s a good cross section we’re showing them today. And they’re getting to sample some food, which is always exciting too. Which is what the whole point of the project is, is to show them where their food comes from and the important role that this modern agriculture in Saskatchewan plays in food production.”
An estimated 200 students participated from from Centennial, All Saints, Fairview, and O.M. Irwin School in Swift Current, along with the Spring Lake Colony.