Yorkton and area students were given a hands-on look at where their food comes from with a fall visit to the local ‘Pizza Farm’ last week.
“This project was started to engage youth in agriculture, teach them about where their food originates and highlights the different sectors in the Ag industry in Saskatchewan,” said Rachel Kraynick with Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food told Yorkton This Week.
The program has become an ongoing one which has grown through the years.
“This was our sixth year (for the program),” said Kraynick. “The ‘Pizza Farm’ concept originated in Yorkton and was initiated by the Ministry of Agriculture. Over the years we have had the support of Agriculture in the Classroom who have developed a manual for setting up food farms, based on the Yorkton model.
“There are now 11 food farms across the province. The most recent one that was added is in Norquay, (the ‘Burger and French Fry Ranch’), who host schools from Norquay, Sturgis, Preeceville and Kamsack.”
The program has students visiting the site in the spring when the crops are planted, and again the fall to see what has been produced.
“We had nine schools and over 300 students (both in the spring and fall) for the Pizza Farm in Yorkton this year,” said Kraynick.
Schools participating include; Canora, Churchbridge, St. Mary’s, St. Paul’s, St. Michael’s, Sacred Heart, Columbia, Yorkdale and Saltcoats.
The spring tours included the following stations and industry volunteers:
• Seeding canola, wheat and peas (Ministry of Ag Crops Specialist, Canola Council of Canada, Richardson, Axiom Ag)
• Oats (Grain Millers)
• Seeding Vegetables (FCC and the Stepping Stone greenhouse)
• Farm Safety, including dangers of PTOs, chemical look-a-like station (Yorkton New Holland)
• Soil Fertility (Mosaic and SAASE)
• Sunflower planting station (Crop Insurance and Yorkton RBC Bank)
• Virtual Reality Sandbox learning about watersheds (Assiniboine Watershed Stewardship Association (AWSA) and Lower Qu’Appelle Watershed Stewardship)
• Seeding equipment (Pattison Ag)
Fall tours included the following stations and industry volunteers:
• Harvest equipment (Yorkton New Holland)
• Farm Safety, covering drowning in grain (Pattison AG)
• Technology i.e. GPS and Weather Stations (Pattison Ag)
• Pork (Ministry of Ag staff)
• Vegetables (FCC)
• Beef/Dairy (Ministry of Ag and Richardson)
• Critter Dipping and healthy riparian areas (AWSA and Ducks Unlimited)
• Harvesting Crops (Axiom Ag and Bayer)
“All of our volunteers are so valued for their contributions and without them, it would be extremely difficult to run this project,” said Kraynick. “They are all industry partners who love our industry, want to share their story, engage youth in our industry and are demonstrating what it really means to be an ‘agvocate’.”