Growing up on a farm, it seemed that I always knew how important our land was, how dependent on weather we are, and how back-breaking and at the same time rewarding farming is. It wasn’t until I started working with AITC that I realized what an enormous gap there is between farmers and the general public. When a child asked me for a seed to plant cheese – I knew that what I was doing at Ag in the Classroom was important. Through our hands-on programs and resources, we are giving kids the opportunity to connect with agriculture. We are helping them to understand where their food comes from and the innovative ways the agriculture industry is meeting challenges and continuing to produce food to feed the world.
The Little Green Thumbs program, managed by Agriculture in the Classroom, helps young people value the health of themselves, the environment, and their community through active participation in a classroom garden. The program engages students by providing a dynamic environment to observe, discover, experiment, nurture and learn. Little Green Thumbs positions our young people to make conscious, healthy decisions regarding their nutrition, the environment, the community they live in and their future.
Little Green Thumbs provides classrooms with the equipment (lighting system, seeds, soil,fertilizer, self-watering containers) and support (teacher training, educational resources, classroom presentations, technical support) to successfully grow indoor gardens. Teachers integrate the gardens into a wide variety of curriculum teaching and as a result, students gain a greater understanding of ecosystems, appreciation for food origins, and knowledge of plant and animal life cycles.
Last year over 90% of the teachers indicated their students attitudes towards healthy food, environmental stewardship, agriculture, and teamwork improved as a result of being involved in Little Green Thumbs. In 2012/13 school year, approximately 65 schools across Saskatchewan will participate in Little Green Thumbs.