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News Release - Manitoba

February 28, 2012

NEW CANADIAN AGRICULTURE LITERACY WEEK CONNECTS STUDENTS WITH ORIGINS OF FARM PRODUCTS THAT SURROUND THEM: KOSTYSHYN



In honour of the proclamation of the first Canadian Agriculture Literacy Week in Manitoba, Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives Minister Ron Kostyshyn today met with students at Westgrove School in Winnipeg and encouraged them to learn more about how agriculture impacts their lives.

“It is important for young people to connect with and better understand the role agriculture plays in their daily lives,” said Kostyshyn.  “From the food we eat and the clothes we wear, to the amazing number of unexpected products connected with agriculture such as airbags and biofuels, this program helps students learn that it all starts with a farmer.”

Kostyshyn’s history includes working on the 2,560-acre family farm that has a 200 cow/calf operation in the Swan River area.  He read the book Where Beef Comes From to the grades 3 and 4 classes and presented the book to the school library.

The minister noted farming operations are responsible for more than food.  Cornstarch is a component of air bags that provide protection from injury in cars and trucks, and horseradish is a component in blood-test strips that help diabetics monitor blood sugar.  The transportation industry is also researching the potential to replace fibreglass paneling in vehicles and airplanes with units made from flax fibre.

“Many people have no personal connection to agriculture and lack the opportunity to develop a relationship with the origin of the food they eat,” said Johanne Ross, executive director, Agriculture in the Classroom - Manitoba.  “This special week provides an opportunity to help students understand the importance and value of agriculture in their lives and identify its significance in the world around them.”

Canadian Agriculture Literacy Week is a new initiative of Agriculture in the Classroom organizations across Canada, with eight provinces participating in its inaugural year.  The theme of ‘Learn – Connect – Understand’ will be promoted in participating classrooms this week.  This initiative is funded by Farm Credit Canada.

Participating classes can receive a visit from a local farmer or someone from the agriculture industry, have a book read and donated to the classroom, and receive classroom activity plans and materials.

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