The Regional Municipality of Durham

News Release

Agriculture and education come together with Farm Connections

WHITBY, ON April 10, 2015

More than 1,145 Grade 3 students from across Durham Region attended Durham Farm Connections, a three-day program that meets Ontario curriculum requirements and provides students with the opportunity to be a farmer for a day, through interactive stations with local farmers.

The event, held from April 7 to 9, was organized by more than 120 volunteers and included hands-on demonstrations by local farmers and live animal exhibits. The students and their teachers (48 classes in total) rotated through eight different farm-themed stations, including: beef, cattle, dairy cattle, pigs, sheep, egg production, crops, land stewardship and vegetables.

A Durham Region farmer was at each station to talk to students and answer their questions. After completing all eight stations, students viewed a live sheep-shearing demonstration, and wrapped up the day by singing the program’s theme song, “Farming makes the world go round.”

“Now in its 10th year, the Durham Farm Connections program continues to provide the opportunity for students and residents to learn about local agriculture,” said Kathy Weiss, Director of Economic Development and Tourism. “We hope to educate members of the community about the value of agriculture in their everyday lives, in addition to its vital importance to Durham Region’s economy.”

On April 8, as part of the program, an Open House event was held for the general public at Luther Vipond Memorial Arena in Brooklin. Local farmers were onsite to give visitors a first-hand look at farming. The response from the community was exceptional, with more than 1,100 attendees.

“Farm Connections makes it fun to learn first-hand how farmers put food on the table,” said Nancy Rutherford, Manager of Economic Development, Agricultural and Rural Affairs. “The Farm Connections volunteer committee delivers a quality, interactive program. We are grateful for the support from our local school boards, sponsors, agricultural organizations and volunteers.”

The Durham Farm Connections program is an agriculture education program that meets Ontario curriculum requirements. It has been recognized with an Ontario Premier’s Award for Agri-food Innovation Excellence, as well as a Watershed Award from the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority (CLOCA).

Farm Connections also includes a high school science program—focusing on agricultural research and technology—aligning with Grade 9, 11 and 12 science curricula. This program, which is held in the fall, also encourages students to consider careers in agriculture and agri-business.

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