The Alberta Rural Development Network is currently exploring opportunities to develop a FarmEd initiative. This would be a school farming initiative that aims to introduce hands-on farming practices into schools to provide an opportunity for experiential learning. The purpose of this project is to improve grade 7 - 12 student’s understanding of agricultural practices, impact food security levels of students through capacity building, and increase overall public trust in Alberta agriculture.
The project would consist of developing a detailed toolkit on how to incorporate and sustain farming practices into school settings, as well as some pilot projects. School farm pilot projects could include small livestock such as bees, chickens, and turkeys, as well as horticulture. The program will be linked to the Alberta education curriculum and cover topics such as water quality, soil health, animal welfare, and climate change, for example. ARDN would gather feedback and work with schools throughout this initiative to ensure the toolkit is comprehensive.
Within FarmEd, ARDN hopes to partner and collaborate with agriculture industries, local schools, businesses, farmers, senior citizens, and community members to connect the public with each other and their local food system.
At this time, ARDN is exploring various funding opportunities to support this project. Through the e, we would like to identify how much interest there is from schools in Alberta to receive and use this toolkit if it were developed, and to participate in initial pilot projects.