What is agriculture? If I had to answer this question two months ago, I would have simply said “farming.” Although that answer isn’t technically wrong, I feel like it’s an oversimplification. Agriculture is so much more than the combines you see harvesting wheat off the side of a rural highway. Almost everything we consume starts at the farm, but we tend to focus on the finished product.

Take potato chips, for example. Grocery stores have entire aisles dedicated to this delectable, crunchy snack. By the time the potatoes are harvested, washed, sliced, fried, seasoned, and packaged – they don’t resemble anything you’d see at a farm. It’s as if chip producers have an endless stockpile of chips that magically replenishes. We know that’s not the case, but how often do we connect that perfect wish chip to the potato it came from and the field it was grown in?

Without agriculture, there would be no potato chips – and that’s the type of connection AITC-M wants all students to make.

As a summer student with little agriculture background, it quickly became clear to me that you don’t have to be a farmer to work in agriculture. I’ve had the opportunity to go to some of AITC-M’s in-class presentations, and when I wasn’t busy snapping photos, I found myself learning alongside a room full of Grade 8 students. My favourite part was when the students were matched up with agriculture jobs based on their interests. I didn’t associate being a graphic artist with agriculture, and I don’t think the students did either before the presentation.

Aside from classroom visits, I’ve also had the opportunity to tour a dairy farm (photos below). I hadn’t been to a farm in over a decade, and it was different from the farms I remembered. Technology has come a long way – I was impressed by the mechanical floor cleaner and the robotic scratcher. As I watched the cows line up for their daily scratches, I appreciated how modern farm technology is improving the lives of farm animals.

So, what is agriculture? From the farmer to the grocery store, agriculture is the driving force that feeds the world.