AgScape, an Ontario charity focused on farm and food education, has launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds to train new teacher graduates, as part of its Teacher Ambassador Program, to deliver free food and agriculture lessons in schools across Ontario.
The organization has a goal of equipping a “school bus load” of Ontario Certified Teachers with “accurate knowledge to teach students about food and agriculture topics such as biotechnology and food security.” The training would be delivered by AgScape using a proprietary e-learning tool called the Business of Food.
“The Business of Food is a comprehensive online course that includes 25 modules on various aspects of the agri-food sector that are vetted by industry experts. This course makes it possible for us to educate teachers about pertinent agri-food topics, but also provides our organization with a real solution to improving food literacy and creating an interest in agriculture among students in schools today,” says Colleen Smith, executive director of AgScape, in a press release.
Smith says the Teacher Ambassador Program is sought after, and requires more funding to recruit and train new Teacher Ambassadors for both urban and rural schools.
“Ontario’s agri-food industry is experiencing a significant labour shortage. At present, there are four jobs available for every graduate from University of Guelph’s Ontario Agricultural College. It’s important to educate students and teachers now about the breadth of opportunities in the sector to ensure economic success for our future,” Smith says.
AgScape is hoping the GoFundMe campaign will help to raise $20,000 that will directly enable the charity to deliver more lessons, host agriculture career events, and provide resources free of charge to schools.
AgScape’s Food Literacy Campaign runs until December 31, 2018.