The goal for Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month (CALM) is to encourages students to learn about and celebrate Canada's agriculture and food story.

To kick things off yesterday, Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced up to $415,000 in support for Agriculture in the Classroom Canada (AITC-C).

She says to build the next generation of agricultural producers, we must inform and inspire Canadian youth. 

"The objective of Agriculture in the Classroom is to spark their interest early by teaching youth about the origins of the food they eat and the role of our farm families, while raising awareness of the many possible careers in our sector. Supporting these efforts is an investment in a stronger, more sustainable agriculture sector."

This year AITC-C is hosting the Great Canadian Farm Tour, a virtual interactive learning experience that will see students interact with farmers and learn about the diversity of commodities grown across the country.

In Manitoba, 6,997 students will take part in Agriculture in the Classroom-Manitoba’s (AITC-M) flagship program.

AITC-M Executive Director Katharine Cherewyk says after two years of virtual programming due to the pandemic, there’s no sweeter feeling than returning to in-person classroom visits this year.

"It’s critical for our future generation of consumers and decision-makers to be connected to their food and who produces it, and CALM is an amazing opportunity for that to happen especially when those connections are made in-person."

Agriculture Minister Derek Johnson says Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month returning to classrooms will be a valuable opportunity for Manitoba students to see where their food comes from and hear from those who produce it.

In Saskatchewan, during the month of March industry volunteers, from all levels of food production will join classrooms to share presentations and personal experiences to help students learn more about agriculture. 

Agriculture Minister David Marit says connecting our youth to agriculture is an important piece of strengthening Saskatchewan's agriculture sector.

"Presentations from industry experts can help educate children on the work that goes into producing the high-quality food that our province is known for."

AITC-S Executive Director Sara Shymko says having a guest visit the classroom to share their personal agriculture and food story is a real draw for teachers and rewarding for the volunteers. 

"They have fun of course, but most importantly, they are helping to inspire the next generation of agriculture leaders and change-makers with their passion and story."

In Alberta, the AITC program operates under Ag for Life.

The Ag for Life website helps teachers with resources and ideas to "Bring Agriculture to Life" for students through informational videos, crafts, lesson plans, learning labs and more.

From Minister Bibeau's $415,000 announcement will see AITC-C  receive up to $55,000 through the new federal AgriCommunication Program to support activities related to virtual farm tours. 

In addition, AITC-C will also receive nearly $360,000 under the AgriDiversity program to expand its thinkAG initiative, which is designed to help Canadian students learn about, and inspire interest in, the many diverse and exciting career opportunities in agriculture.

Johanne Ross, Executive Director for AITC-C  says the support will be leveraged alongside other AITC-C donors to ensure initiatives such as CALM and thinkAG continue to grow and thrive with useful tools for educators and experiences for students.