Collaborative effort will expand youth safety and agricultural education programming across Alberta.
(CALGARY, AB, October 29, 2012) – In its commitment to enhancing rural and farm safety and agriculture education efforts in the province of Alberta, Agriculture for Life announces an investment of $1.2 million over the next three years towards the long-term funding of four school and community based programs.
Through collaboration, Ag for Life brings diverse industry and stakeholder groups together to support agricultural education programs that can be expanded across Alberta. “Ag for Life provides committed funding and support that enables the delivery of great programs, removing financial pressure and allowing full concentration on delivery and successful outcomes,” comments Ag for Life CEO David Sprague. “Together we can increase the reach of these programs across the province and enhance their long term sustainability.”
Classroom Agriculture Program
The Classroom Agriculture Program (CAP) is a well-known and highly respected agriculture education program that is currently reaching over 15,000 grade 4 Alberta students annually. CAP has been operating in Alberta for over 25 years. With the support of Ag for Life, the goal for the next three years is to expand program distribution to reach 30,000 Alberta students annually.
“The Classroom Agriculture Program is very excited to partner with Agriculture for Life with a common goal of promoting agriculture in Alberta. Together we will bring agriculture into the classroom, helping students understand and appreciate the importance of this industry. The support from Agriculture for Life will allow CAP to increase in quality, reach and scale while continuing to deliver valuable school programming,” says Karen Spelay, CAP Coordinator.
Progressive Agriculture Safety Days
Progressive Agriculture Foundation (PAF) is the largest rural and farm safety education program for children in North America. Through the collaborative agreement between the two organizations, Ag for Life will fund the establishment of additional Safety Days in the province. Over the next 3 years, the goal is to triple the number of Safety Day programs delivered in Alberta from 16 to 48. The PAF Safety Day program model has been independently evaluated and proven to improve safety behaviours in children, youth and adults.
“This collaborative relationship will allow us to grow the reach of the Safety Day program in the province of Alberta,” explains Randy Bernhardt, PAF chief administrative officer. “Agriculture for Life shares principles that closely mirror those of the Safety Day program. It makes sense to join forces, work together and we look forward to further developing our relationship with Agriculture for Life.”
Little Green Thumbs
The Sustainable Foods Edmonton – Little Green Thumbs program helps young people understand where food comes from and the impact fresh food has on their health, the environment and their community through active participation in classroom gardening. Indoor gardens are living classrooms that make learning concepts such as nutrition, sustainable food systems and agriculture literacy exciting and relevant. During the next three years, the goal is to expand the program to reach 65 Edmonton schools while working to expand the program province wide. This represents a 100% increase in the number of children who currently receive this program.
Sustainable Food Edmonton’s Executive Director, Areni Kelleppan comments, “With Ag for Life’s support of the Little Green Thumbs Program, we can ensure that our capacity to deliver this program to thousands of school children every year continues and is sustainable for the long term.”
“The Little Green Thumbs program is one of the key initiatives of Sustainable Food Edmonton’s efforts to strengthen communities through education. We are very grateful to Ag for Life for their significant support and ongoing commitment to the Little Green Thumbs Program. This new funding agreement will help ensure that we are able to continue to provide the opportunity for the children and youth of Alberta to learn about the food cycle and the environment that sustains us in a hands-on, fun and engaging way,” adds Board President Chelsey L. Bailey.
The Multicultural Heritage Centre City Slickers program is a powerful one day event that introduces Grades 4 and 5 students to the many facets of agriculture. Children develop firsthand an understanding and appreciation for food, where it comes from and how it is produced from gate to plate. The City Slickers Program brings together farmers, producers and consumers. With Ag for Life’s continuing support, a scalable delivery model has been developed. The goal is to expand from its original community of Stony Plain to communities all across Alberta.
Judy Unterschultz, Executive Director of the Multicultural Heritage Centre comments, “City Slickers is an excellent example of a program that would no longer be offered if it were not for sustainable funding support from Ag for Life. Ag for Life’s leadership and funding model will make a significant difference in the number and quality of agriculture education programs in Alberta.”
About Ag for Life
Ag for Life (Agriculture for Life) has a mandate to deliver educational programming designed to improve rural and farm safety while building public understanding around the critical role agriculture plays in society. The organization brings together various sectors including agri-services, energy, financial and not-for-profit organizations, along with farmers, ranchers and community leaders.
Ag for Life is made possible through the funding and commitment of companies that employ almost 20,000 people in more than 350 Alberta communities. Founding Members include Agrium Inc., ATB Financial, ATCO Group, Penn West Exploration, Rocky Mountain Equipment, TransCanada Corporation and UFA Co-operative Limited. Contributing Members include AdFarm, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development – Government of Alberta, Glacier Media Group and Mosaic Studios.