It was a unanimous pick for the 2022 AITC-M Teacher Driver Award. 

Each year, we present our Teacher Driver Award to a Manitoba teacher who demonstrates exceptional leadership in fostering agriculture literacy in their students. A small committee reviews several nominations; it is never an easy task as we are always so inspired by educators who take the lead in bringing agriculture into the hands and minds of their students. 

Passionate, dedicated and eager are just a few words that could describe this year’s recipient. Couple that with a genuine interest and motivation to bring agriculture education to her students and you have this year’s successful nominee, Ashley Taylor, who teaches Grades 6-8 Food, Nutrition and Sustainability at École Leila North Community School

Pam Godfredsen, the Phys-Ed teacher at École Leila North School, nominated Taylor because she has seen how her involvement with agriculture education over the years has been made possible with the help of Agriculture in the Classroom – Manitoba’s programs and resources. 

“Ashley is a forward-thinking teacher who loves to bring the love of growing plants into the classroom. She teaches food and nutrition with the students and brings in many of the plants they grow into their cooking class,” says Godfredson. “This includes using the plant or vegetable fresh or dehydrating or pickling. The ideas she comes up with allow students to explore the love of growing in a variety of different ways and learning to use what you have.” 

Not only does she teach her students in the classroom, but Godfredson tells us that Taylor takes them outdoors to run their school garden and is currently looking at expanding both the school garden and school grounds into a food forest.

“Ashley has even gone on to add beehives and chickens to the school grounds which all ties in with the gardening and Little Green Thumbs program.” She explains. 

Mrs. Taylor started raising chickens in her class last fall, when an acquaintance of hers had extra chicks to give away. She says the chickens make her students excited to come to class every day. 

In addition to chickens, Taylor says her students are just now finding out where their food comes from, and she loves to watch them have an “ah ha!” moment when they discover new things. A couple years ago, one of the students told her they had no clue carrots grew from the ground – they thought carrots came from the grocery store! 

Taylor has been involved in many AITC-M programs now and we feel blessed to be able to work with an educator who serves as such a role model for others in how to inspire young people to experience agriculture. 

We are pleased to present Ashley with the 2022 Teacher Driver award for the inspiring role she plays in helping AITC-M cultivate an interest in agriculture in young people across Manitoba! 

Watch the full video of Ashley below!

Follow Mrs. Taylor and École Leila North School on Instagram to see all the other cool projects they are working on: