The Irvine School ADC, located on the Irvine School grounds is an on-site agriculture demonstration project that will connect both rural and urban students to deepen their shared understanding of the Canadian Food System. The program will teach sustainable agriculture practices focusing on how we will feed 9 billion people by 2050 in an environmentally sound, socially responsible and financially viable way now and in the future. This program will build capacity in rural youth. According to Farm and Food Care Canada, 1 in 8 jobs are related to agriculture and agri-food. The ADC will inspire local youth to choose meaningful career paths that will ultimately serve to strengthen and uphold the Canadian Food System. Irvine School students will have the opportunity to engage in many facets of agriculture. From growing crops and produce, to raising livestock. Each student attending the school will interact with the ADC on a daily basis from Mid April – Mid October.
Irvine School students will connect virtually with urban students across the province and beyond. Through google classroom, social media and video production, Irvine students will learn how to compose video logs and create presentations to showcase the day to day farming operations in the ADC.
Taking place each September, the Harvest Gala will be a community celebration of the ADC. Held in the school gymnasium, students will plan and cater a community supper, share video and presentations about their experiences, host a farmer’s market, a silent auction and a live animal auction. All livestock will be sold at the end of the season, with proceeds going back into the ADC program. This event, along with funds generated by agri-tourism and field trips will create financial sustainability.
Why do we need the ADC?
According to the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity, < 2% of the Canadian population remains rural. As our population becomes more urban-centered, there is an ever-increasing disconnect between producers and consumers. At the same time, rural youth are leaving their communities for work and education opportunities. The net-out migration from our small rural towns is increasing.
Why do we need the ADC?
In order to feed 9 billion by 2050, using the latest science and technology, the agriculture industry must attract the best and the brightest. The ADC will serve to fortify rural communities by building agriculture capacity in youth. Students enrolled in the ADC program will become ambassadors of agriculture through a hands-on, experiential learning process. The ADC will partner with local industry experts to educate students about the fantastic career choices in the agriculture and agri-food sector. Students interacting in the ADC will develop the following life-skills: critical thinking, community outreach, entrepreneurialism, leadership, goal-setting, environmental stewardship, and financial management. All programming will be curriculum-linked.
Building a Legacy
The Irvine School Agriculture Discovery Centre has the potential to re-shape how rural education is delivered across the province and beyond. This demonstration project will create a one-of-a kind template, backed by results to prove program efficacy, that in-turn could be published and circulated to allow other rural schools to build their own ADC.