Kids get ‘Back to their Roots’ with the Friend a Farmer Program
By Farmers Feed Cities and Farm & Food Care Ontario
May 8, 2012, Guelph, ON – Farmers Feed Cities and Farm & Food Care Ontario are pleased to be giving children in Windsor a taste of rural life through their Friend a Farmer program which provides students with a first-hand look into how a farm operates throughout the year.
The joint initiative, which pairs a classroom with a local farmer, is providing students with insight into the world of agriculture and the importance of farming in Ontario. Through classroom visits, emails between students and farmers, photographs, videos and more, the children are seeing firsthand how a farm operates.
“We’re very excited to have the Friend a Farmer program underway in Windsor, giving children a chance to connect with the farmers who grow their food,” said Jenny Van Rooy, Campaign Coordinator at Farmers Feed Cities. “It’s great to see how excited the children get when they have the chance to meet a real farmer. This is a big step forward in raising awareness with youngsters on how food reaches their dinner table each night.”
Survey results from Farmers Feed Cities and Farm & Food Care Ontario indicate that Canadians know little or nothing about farming and how their food is grown but they are interested in knowing more.
“A farmer is more than a planter and a harvester,” commented Heather Hargrave, Program Coordinator with Farm & Food Care Ontario. “We want to build awareness of the expertise farmers need to grow food and the impact that agriculture has on our daily lives.”
Taking a far more in-depth look at plant growth and animal science than your average classroom science program, Friend a Farmer provides an opportunity to teach children about how crops are grown and animals are cared for. More than that, the program also gives children a glimpse into rural life, and how technical and business savvy Ontario farmers need to be to feed our province.
For the 2011/2012 school year, farmers from the Woodstock, Oshawa and Windsor areas have been selected to be a part of the program, giving students in those areas access to a wide spectrum of farming, from pork to poultry to potatoes.
“It’s rewarding to see the next generation of Canadians engaging in agriculture,” concludes Wheatley farmer, Dave Whaley. “After reading each email, I’m continually surprised by the insightful questions the class poses, and the students’ level of excitement in seeing the progress on the farm throughout the season. These students are left buzzing to their friends about what they’ve learned – we’re truly making agriculture cool again.”