Agriculture in the Classroom’s new virtual learning program will allow more students to learn about food production around the world and their place in it, the organization says.
The organization will pilot the virtual Manitoba Ag Days Adventure, which will replace this year’s cancelled, in-person event.
“It’s not only going to be schools that are within driving distance of Brandon that will be able to participate in this learning. It will be any classroom in Manitoba,” said Sue Clayton, Agriculture in the Classroom Manitoba’s executive director.
The program would normally occur during Manitoba Ag Days, the annual farm show held at Brandon’s Keystone Centre.
This year Manitoba Ag Days hosted its annual Innovation Showcase and 50-50 draw, but the live show was cancelled due to COVID-19.
In past years, the Ag Days Adventure saw up to 450 Grade 7 and 8 students over three days.
In the mornings, classes of students gathered at the Manitoba Agriculture building where they played the “world game.” The game taught students about global food production and Canada’s place in the agriculture industry.
Students spent afternoons at the Keystone Centre for an “Ag Hunt” in which they completed various tasks with participating booths and learned about the agriculture industry in Manitoba.
“Most students don’t know (how big the industry is),” said Clayton. “They don’t understand the depth and breadth of the opportunities in the agriculture industry.”
In this year’s pilot, virtual ag adventure, students will watch a video and play a virtual version of the world game. They’ll then complete a critical-thinking activity.
Clayton said they plan to release the virtual ag adventure Manitoba-wide next year if possible, concurrent with an in-person Manitoba Ag Days Adventure.
Manitoba Ag Days, Viterra and Canadian Agricultural Partnership funded the project.
In March, Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month (CALM) will also move online. CALM usually brings volunteers from the agricultural industry into school classrooms to talk to students about their jobs and farming in Manitoba.
This year, Ag in the Classroom will mail registered teachers a kit with an ag- and nutrition-themed book, videos from Manitoba farmers and food processors, activity sheets and a teacher’s guide.
Clayton added that teacher registration for CALM is still open.