Summer Institute Cultivates Ag-Education
The 2021 Summer Institute was once again a success! The BCAITC and UBC Faculty of Education's Summer Institute course - BC Agriculture in the Curriculum - was delivered to 20 teacher participants from July 26 to 30. Sowing the seeds of ag-education, the 3-credit class provides teachers with professional development tools and resources to help them integrate important concepts related to food, the agriculture industry, and environmental sustainability into their class curriculum in the upcoming school year.
The course, held in-person from 1999 to 2019, was again delivered virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Building on the successful online format created in 2020, the course provided participants with interactive learning opportunities to enjoy from the comfort of their own homes (a few even took in the course from their sunny patios). Participants came from all regions of BC – including the Lower Mainland, Kelowna, Quesnel, Victoria, Saanich, and even remote locations like Krestova – to take part in this distance education class. In addition to the benefit of receiving professional development in a way that suits their individual circumstances, participants received and shared virtual teaching concepts that could be used in their classrooms.
The Summer Institute course was delivered by Joe Massie. He also manages the Agriculture Program at Sardis Secondary – including an expansive greenhouse and farm along with a range of agriculture courses. Massie’s enthusiasm for agriculture education is contagious as he shares his knowledge and experiences with Summer Institute participants.
Course participants had a week packed full of fun learning activities! Participants in this 5-day course explored practical ways to integrate concepts related to food production and consumption, food safety, agricultural topics, and sustainability across the curriculum at all grade levels:
- Agriculture Presentations: Participants had the chance to hear from experts in the field about current agriculture topics like the Agriculture Land Reserve, cranberry farming, duck farming, egg production, greenhouse growing, cattle ranching, school gardens, and more. Plus, they enjoyed a video tour of the Sumas Flats, developed to recreate prior years’ live farm field trips.
- Cook-Alongs: Participants had the chance to cook alongside Chef Trevor Randle as he led them through an array of delicious BC grown dishes including ‘Seared Duck Breast Lettuce Wrap with Quick Pickled Radishes and Carrots with Asian Vinaigrette’, ‘BC Fresh Potato Gnocchi' with 'Spicy BC Tomato Sauce’, ‘BC Lemon Pudding with Blueberry Compote’, ‘BC Greenhouse Penne with Asiago Cream’, ‘Easy Sunday Brunch BC Eggs Benedict', and ‘BC Cranberry Scones with Orange and White Chocolate’.
- Discussions and Debates: Participants discussed current agriculture subjects on a local and global level.
- Reading Assignments: Exciting agriculture and food topics were featured in the course’s daily reading assessments.
- Projects/Presentations: Teams completed group projects to on relevant agricultural and food topics. Plus, individuals developed food stories and creating agriculture literacy lesson plans that that can be shared with students (as well as other educators around the province) in the coming school year.
- Contests: To encourage participants to share their individual food stories and recipes, they participated in online contests and challenges.
Participants loved learning about BC’s amazing agriculture and food story at the Summer Institute! Below is some of the feedback from the course participants.
"Engaging, eye-opening, and inspiring!" - Kaitlan Greenhalgh
"The Summer Institute is a must for any teacher passionate about BC food systems. Through resources and direct connections to local farmers, building lesson plans that are holistic, involve the local community, are an easy task." - Michelle Darling
"If you are not sure about taking Agriculture in Curriculum, you should, it's worth every dollar." - Jody Yau
"Take this course - you will not regret it!! Incredibly informative and fun." - Lindsay May
As the warm days of summer fade to the cooler days of fall, the Summer Institute teachers will pass on their course knowledge to K-12 classrooms and students throughout BC. Through lessons and projects, students will learn about and embrace the story of BC food from farm to table.
The Summer Institute was a success thanks to the many generous partners in our community:
- Agriculture Land Commission - Aimee McGowan and Nicole Mak
- BCAITC - Pat Tonn, Glenda Johnston, Chef Trevor Randle, and Holly Johnson
- Fossen Bar 7 Ranch - Erika and Doug Fossen
- Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry - Heather Murray
- Fresh Roots - Alexa Pitoulis
- Creekside Hothouse - Grin Cheema
- Runway Poultry Ltd. - Kevin Koopmans
- THE BOG Riverside Cranberry Farm - Brian Dewit
- University of British Columbia - Joe Massie (Instructor)
- W&A Farms - Bill Zylmans
- BC Egg
- BC Greenhouse Growers’ Association
- THE BOG - Riverside Cranberry Farm
- Creekside Hothouse
- Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry
- Mainland Milk Producers Association
- South Alder Farms