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News Release

Agriculture and education come together with Durham Farm Connections

WHITBY, ON April 08, 2016

More than 1,200 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 5 to 7, 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 and cheese making, pigs, cider, 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.

“Now in its 11th 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 6, 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 1,000 individuals attending.

“The Durham Farm Connections volunteer committee delivers a quality, interactive program and we would like to thank each and every volunteer for their effort and dedication to this program. We are also grateful for the support from our local school boards, sponsors and agricultural organizations,” said Nancy Rutherford, Manager of Economic Development, Agricultural and Rural Affairs.

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).

Durham 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 was held in March at J. Clarke Richardson Collegiate in Ajax, also encourages students to consider careers in agriculture and agri-business.

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