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Agscape's teacher ambassador program receives funding from Oxford Junior Farmers

By Bruce Chessell, Woodstock Sentinel-Review

Oxford County Junior Farmers (Submitted photo/file photo)

Oxford County Junior Farmers (Submitted photo/file photo)

The Oxford County Junior Farmers are showing their support for ag-literacy in local schools.

The Junior Farmers announced monday that it had made a "generous donation" to AgScape's Teacher Ambassador program to support fact-based agriculture and food information delivered by Ontario certified teachers to high school students.

Started four years ago, it focuses on having under-employed Ontario certified teachers deliver agricultural lessons to students from Grade 7 to 12.

Drew De Bruyn of the Oxford County Junior Farmers said that though Oxford County is an agricultural community, many students are unaware of the strong links they have to farming roots.

"Our group wants to help provide sound information about agricultural practices and the food system to students in Oxford County," De Bruyn said. the Junior Farmer's donation will give local teachers access to a teacher ambassador to deliver free, in-class lessons during the 2017-2018 school year and the club is also going to promote the program throughout the year.

AgScape executive director Colleen Smith said these lessons can cover a wide variety of topics that relate to agriculture and food.

"Let's say they have to talk about climate change," Smith said. "Well we use an ag focus on climate change and how it affects crops and farmers and what they do. We do things on water management and talk about local food and food safety.

"There are a number of areas we talk about," she added. "We talk about technology and innovation, but we always talk about it from an agriculture perspective." smith said that while the program is offered all over Ontario, most of the teacher ambassadors are located in southwestern Ontario because of the dense population.

"We're going to use this money (from the Oxford Junior Farmers) to support the teacher ambassadors," Smith said, "and the program to recruit and train and deploy."

bchessell@postmedia.com