By Nick Liard
Agriculture is big industry in the Quinte region.
That’s why Maribeth deSnoo, executive director of the Hastings and Prince Edward Learning Foundation, wanted to show the importance of farming to area children.
Last October, the foundation organized an event, called the Agribition, that showcased Prince Edward County’s agricultural abilities.
This week they received a national award from the Canadian Association of Communicators and Education for the program.
“That includes all school boards, all colleges, all universities, and then all of the associations of the professionals that are involved in those organizations,” said deSnoo.
“We need to reconnect them with how their food is produced and the importance of where their food comes from,” said deSnoo. “It goes back to good conservation practices and just an appreciation for what goes into producing food and not only from a work ethic standpoint but a technology perspective as well.”
It may also provide an opportunity to keep the small family farm from going under.
“Let’s face it, when we look at the local district now and we compare it to even 20 years ago, when we look at the number of family farms. That number has decreased greatly, so the opportunity to share that information and give them an appreciation is very important,” said deSnoo.
The agribition for all county Grade Four students was an event to re-introduce Grade Four students to agricultural and farming practices, past and present, in order for them to fully appreciate how food is produced today.
“The idea for the agribition came from the learning foundation,” said deSnoo. “So we came up with the event and it was our job to implement the event and come up with the fundraising.”
She said they were proud of their accomplishments.
“I think it is absolutely incredible. We like to think that we do a good job; our mission is to make sure that education is enhanced for all students. So when someone outside your organization, especially on the national level, it means a lot.”
The best part of what she was able to do was get involved with the students learning.
“I got to work very closely with the students, I was on site with the staff both days we did the event, and I have to admit, agriculture is near and dear to my heart growing up on a small local farm. It was just nice to share and give back some of that,” said deSnoo.
“One of the unique features of that event was that all the Grade Four students in the Prince Edward –Hastings got to go at no cost to them, so it was a wonderful day for students,” said deSnoo.
The students went out to local farms who where the “donors” of this event to see how things such as milk are produced. They got a little taste of the county as well as milk and local fresh fruit was given to the students.
The event this year was held about a week ago, and it was held strictly by the donors.
“I think they see such merit and value in sharing the information, so I think this is great that they are taking this on.”