Agriculture in the Classroom

Letter from the President

Kelly Funke, Cargill Canada

There’s nothing better than being in the company of people who know more than you do. 

You can watch and listen and ask probing questions to glean every tidbit of knowledge you can. You depart their company a better person and eagerly anticipate the next meeting. Scientists, business leaders, human resources experts, people to whom wisdom has come over time, those who take a novel approach to a given issue, farmers with a combination of book and experiential learning, parents, grandparents, teachers. These are the kinds of experts we are fortunate to have on the Agriculture in the Classroom-Manitoba (AITC-M) team.

Yet even with this depth of know-how, our board and staff are still learning and growing together.

In 2016, we welcomed Sue Clayton to the role of executive director as we said farewell to Johanne Ross, who had been our executive director for 16 years and is now leading Agriculture in the Classroom-Canada. Our two organizations will continue to work closely and grow our programs together.

Some of the development we experienced this year came from new and expanding programming. For example, Little Green Thumbs (literally a growing program) expanded from 41 classroom gardens
to 51 during the 2016-17 school year. Just as our board and staff teams cannot succeed alone, our organization depends on its members, sponsors, volunteers and other partners to flourish.

We were pleased to join with Manitoba Agriculture and the Honourable Ralph Eichler, Minister of Agriculture, during Farm and Food Awareness Week last September to celebrate our industry. We received our  first-ever Growing Forward 2 funding for the Pizza Farm program, and we partnered to deliver programming related to the International Year of Pulses.

But our flagship programs – think Amazing Agriculture Adventure and the Made in Manitoba Breakfast – which teachers, students and volunteers have come to know and love, continue to evolve and improve as well.
More than anything, it is the outstanding people of ag and their combined efforts that bring me back to the AITC-M board table, energized by their collective enthusiasm for agriculture and learning. We are fortunate to have a group of capable employees who bring the best of themselves to work every day, and who bring out the best in all of us.

I hope you share my pride and continue to see the value in an organization like Agriculture in the Classroom-Manitoba as we all grow together.

Kelly Funke
President, AITC-M