Renfrew County Federation of Agriculture (RCFA) is endorsing the Renfrew Agvocates, a grassroots organization founded in 2021 with a mission to “create connections for education in our community about agriculture and its opportunities.”
Founding Renfrew Agvocates members include RCFA as well as educators from primary, secondary and post-secondary education as well as extension specialists and farmers.
Projects being launched include:
For the 2021-2022 school year, elementary classrooms will have the opportunity to adopt a local farmer to learn about their business through virtual farm visits, monthly check-ins and correspondence. The farmer can meet with the classroom virtually, 3 times throughout the school year, to introduce themselves and their farm to the class. These visits will offer farm tours, opportunities for questions, receive seasonal updates and discuss new ideas. Between visits the farmer can check in with the class by sending photos, letters, pre-recorded videos and social media posts.
This program allows local farmers to share their work and passion with the community, and offers students a chance to learn about farm products directly from the source. Through additional resources provided to the teacher, students will gain an appreciation of the farm sector and commonly grown food items.
Our Farmers – Empowering our Greatest Asset – Community Leaders
The program also includes an outreach to local farmers to represent the agricultural industry and the diversity of producers in the county. A peer network will be developed that creates a personal connection to one another, developing storytelling, communication, and advocacy skills together. From a mental health and social aspect this peer network will strengthen and educate all participants with ongoing training programs and social events in the community.
The Renfrew Agvocates are collaborating with Farm and Food Care Ontario as a pilot project under their advocacy banner. This model can be adapted in other regions to enhance Ontario’s connection with farmers and agriculture.