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Breakfast of champions

The bodies and minds of students at two area communities were nourished when the famous Made in Manitoba Breakfast program was featured, connecting students to where that food came from.

The breakfast and agriculture education program is one of a number run by Agriculture in the Classroom-Manitoba Inc. (AITC-M), a non-profit organization supported by individuals and the agriculture industry.

“Being a rural community, staff decided the Made in Manitoba Breakfast would be a worthwhile opportunity to explore,” said Jon Zilkey, principal of Hamiota Schools. “Sometimes students, and adults for that matter, don’t realize where their food comes from. The program gives us a chance to highlight the good work people do in agriculture around our community.”

A healthy menu was dished up to the 252 students plus staff attending the Hamiota Elementary and Collegiate in early December, and the week prior students and staff at the K-8 Binscarth School gave thanks to local producers and the importance of agriculture, when the breakfast was delivered to their school.

Thanks to friends of the program — The Monsanto Fund, Bee Maid, Countryside Farms, Dairy Farmers of Manitoba, Manitoba Canola Growers, Manitoba Egg Farmers, Manitoba Pork Council, Parrish and Heimbecker Ltd. and Richardson International — the menu includes flax pancakes, hard-cooked eggs, pork sausage, canola margarine, honey, and smooth chocolate milk, all produced by Manitoba’s farm families.

“The breakfast is a true celebration of agriculture,” said Johanne Ross, AITC-M executive director. “Volunteers at the Hamiota and Binscarth breakfasts acted as a face to the food and help students understand that food production starts on the farm but then involves many more aspects of the industry to get past the farm gate to their plates.”

Ross said the following folks volunteered at the Hamiota/Binscarth breakfasts: Binscarth — David Wray (grain/canola), George Graham (grain), Gerry Cook (grain), Pat Orsak (MAFRI), Adele Pizzey (grain-seed farm), Annabelle McDonald (grain-seed farm) and Leanne Tibatts (MAFRI). Hamiota — Victoria Gilby (Cargill), Georgine Mann (beekeeper Mann Apiaries), Gwenda Skayman (MAFRI), Kelvin Tiller (MASC, grain/cattle), Kevin Hyndman (hog producer), Barry Chappell (grain), Kendall Heise (grain) and Mark and Cindy Morton (dairy).

Along with the agricultural producers from a variety of sectors, student volunteers such as the Hamiota Student Council are involved in various facets of the breakfast including preparation, serving and cleanup.

Over the course of the 2011-12 school year, the very popular Made in Manitoba breakfast will visit approximately 50 schools in the province.

“Thanks to the Monsanto Fund, AITC-M is expanding the program to 30 new rural schools, allowing us to feed more tummies and nourish more minds with new curriculum-linked resources,” added Ross.

To enhance awareness of agriculture in Manitoba schools and to develop an appreciation and awareness of the importance of agriculture — socially and economically — are among the objectives of the AITC-M, which reaches those goals through a variety of programs, opportunities and supporters.

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