2020 was far cry from a usual year for everyone, and Agriculture in the Classroom – Manitoba (AITC-M) is no different. With their flagship in-person programming, like Manitoba Ag Days Adventure, on hold at this time, AITC-M staff has pivoted to create more virtual and at-home experiences for teachers and students.
AITC-M's usual Manitoba Ag Days Adventure is a program designed to help grade 7 and 8 students think globally and act locally about agriculture, food security and agriculture careers. Students learn about global food production and Canada's import/export of agricultural goods. They then move on to a scavenger hunt at the Keystone Centre to explore agricultural careers and the importance of the local industry. In 2021 AITC-M's regular program isn't possible, but they have other plans.
"Thanks to funding from Manitoba Ag Days, we can create a fully blended program that can happen in class or at home, anywhere in the province," said Sue Clayton, AITC-M's Executive Director. "Although nothing can replace the value of the in-person programming we normally do at Ag Days, we consider this a fabulous opportunity to develop something we can use year after year and reach even more students province-wide."
AITC-M plans to pilot a virtual Manitoba Ag Days resource this year. The new resource will include the following:
- An interactive virtual eLearning component
- A video
- A critical-thinking activity
"We're proud to continue our support for AITC-M this year," said Kristen Phillips, Manitoba Ag Days General Manager. "We can't wait to see how they adapt their wonderful Manitoba Ag Days Adventure program to be used in classrooms and are looking forward to a time when we can invite AITC-M and the students back to the Keystone Centre for an in-person Ag Days in the future."
Although this school year looks different for AITC-M, agriculture education, and conversations about food production and food security have never been more on the radar of educators in Manitoba. Thanks to the ongoing support of partners like Manitoba Ag Days, AITC-M can continue delivering accurate, balanced and current resources and activities to teachers and students in the 2020-21 school year. And with the desire educators have for more virtual in classroom or at-home learning opportunities, the need for the work that AITC-M does has never been greater.