Urban Ag High Helps Edmonton Schools Establish Agriculture Programs
In recent years, the Edmonton area has seen an increase in schools pursuing urban agriculture (urban ag) initiatives. Traditionally run as extra-curricular activities or horticulture classes, urban ag is rapidly gaining interest among urban youth and educators. At the same time, while there are champions in schools across the city, existing administration and school boards may not always be aware of positives impacts of urban agriculture projects in schools.
Not only do school urban ag projects exemplify the guiding principles of Alberta Education’s Inspiring Education* document, they offer hands-on, experiential, student-lead, cross-curricular, and project based learning including:
• Learning for every student at every skill level.
• Multi-disciplinary learning (i.e. biology, chemistry, mathematics, design…the list goes on).
• A practical approach to building collaboration and real world problem solving skills.
• An appreciation for the natural world and environmental stewardship.
Learn more about the benefits of urban ag programming: 5 Ways School Gardens Support Learning.
What is Urban Ag High?
Urban Ag High is a 2-year project (launched in the fall of 2013) to promote, support, and facilitate the development of urban ag programs within junior and senior high schools. By connecting educators, skills and resources, the project ultimately aims to build a community of practice where collaboration, collective sharing and practical learning leads to the development of successful school agricultural initiatives across the Edmonton area.
Why Urban Ag High?
Through our work, we realized there was a lack of connection, coordination, and collaboration between local educators and communities interested or running school ag projects across the Edmonton area. We found:
• Local Edmonton and area educators are ready and willing to implement urban ag projects but lacking the required resources and time.
• Schools and educators are interested in directly linking urban ag programs to the Alberta Program of Studies.
• Educators are exploring various strategies for implementing urban ag projects in their schools.
Urban Ag High can catalogue the skills, resources, and expertise of various school program and community organizations so that opportunities for collaboration are readily available and accessible. By acting as a platform for sharing teaching resources, strategies, and lessons, we can avoid unnecessary duplicate work; help streamline processes; and answer questions from the collective wisdom from those who have already done the work.
To learn more, contact me (Dustin Bajer) via my Urban Ag High Coordinator email.