The Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario is placing a strong emphasis on the importance of agricultural education. Earlier this year the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario announced its scholarship program for students attending post-secondary courses in agricultural studies. Continuing with that direction, CFFO has sponsored a bus full of school children to visit the Ag Museum in Ottawa. Good education involves teaching the history of the subject.
It is a known fact that many of today’s school children that grow up in urban communities, especially large cities, have become less aware of what food production is about. Awareness of the natural connection to agriculture and consumption of food is less evident in these members of our society. Many of our youth today are two or more generations from family connections to the farm or even rural life. Without action, this disconnect will grow as cities expand and farm operations incorporate today’s technology. However, with thoughtful and determined education initiatives we can change this trend. The next generations of citizens will need to be taught about food production without actually experiencing life on the farm but realizing this is where their food comes from.
The goal for all of agriculture should be that when a person bites into any type of food they should be able to know and understand how the food came onto their plate. They should generally know how it is produced and be sure of its safety and its health quality. Canada has a solid record on both of these qualities, and Ontario is a great place to eat good food.
It is important for today’s food producers, along with those that process, package and distribute food, to be willing to build a relationship with their customers. This is something that Ontario farmers need to continue to establish. A good way is in the classroom, so a trip to the agricultural museum is a great place to start. The agricultural museum gives visitors an opportunity to see and understand the progression of Ontario and Canadian agricultural history and how technology has shaped and improved agriculture.
Informing today’s youth about food production will provide our society with a generation of adults who value support for agriculture and its work. With the support for the Fill-a-Bus program CFFO is giving the opportunity for school kids to become interested in food production and to begin to understand the business of agriculture.
Paul Bootsma is the Field Services Manager for the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario. The CFFO Commentary represents the opinions of the writer and does not necessarily represent CFFO policy. The CFFO Commentary is heard weekly on CFCO Chatham, CKNX Wingham, and UCB Canada radio stations in Chatham, Belleville, Bancroft, Brockville and Kingston and in Brantford and Woodstock. It is also found on the CFFO website: www.christianfarmers.org. CFFO is supported by 4,200 family farmers across Ontario.