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Bringing Agriculture into the Classroom (PCN Winter 2013) JAN 1 2013 | Consumers and Producers | Pulse Crop News

This article appeared in the Winter 2013 issue of Pulse Crop News.

The Classroom Agriculture Program (CAP) is a non-profit initiative that teaches grade four students the importance of agriculture in their daily lives. CAP began in 1985, and since that time, more than 550,000 students have participated in the program. This year, there are already over 15,500 students registered to receive a presentation. CAP helps children learn about the food they eat, where it comes from, and the importance of agriculture in Alberta. CAP also highlights the vast opportunities in agriculture and the people, producers, and industries that drive this trade.

Alberta Pulse Growers is a member and supporter of CAP. As a not for profit organization, CAP is provided free of charge to grade four classes across Alberta. This is possible thanks to membership support.

As a CAP member, Alberta Pulse Growers helps the organization achieve its objectives through financial support, distributing information about the program, partnering, and cooperating with CAP where possible, and promoting a positive public representation of the program. CAP members are also a great source of program volunteers.

CAP is dedicated to preserving and promoting agriculture. CAP is a multi-commodity initiative supported by the Alberta Pulse Growers Commission, Agrium, Alberta Barley Commission, Alberta Beef Producers, Alberta Canola Producers Commission, Alberta Chicken Producers, Egg Farmers of Alberta, Alberta Veterinary Medical Association, Eastern Irrigation District, Olds College, Alberta Institute of Agrologists, and the Alberta Irrigation Projects Association. New this year, Alberta Milk, CropLife Canada, and Agriculture for Life have also joined the organization. Agriculture for Life joins CAP as a substantial partner, and will provide up to $150,000 of funding annually for the next three years.

CAP recently completed two significant projects that will increase both the quality and reach of the program. CAP now has a website where both teachers and volunteers can register for the program and submit evaluations and potential members and partners can learn more about opportunities. The website address is CAP is also launching a new classroom DVD this year. The updated DVD will be used by volunteers in their classroom presentations and will also be available for viewing on our website in the next month. Along with these highlights, CAP continues its core effort, reaching out to grade four students across Alberta and sharing positive messages about agriculture.

CAP volunteers go directly into classrooms to discuss farming and agriculture with grade four students. The volunteers all have unique presentations because each volunteer focuses on their own specialty, whether it be animals, crops, or the environment. In the end, they share a common message – that agriculture plays a very important role in our daily lives and in Alberta’s economy. This network of volunteers delivers the program between February and June of each year.

Presentations are one hour long and include story-telling, hands-on props and fun activities. CAP provides training, resources, ideas, and guidance to all volunteers. Last year, over 14,000 students registered for CAP. Each classroom that registers receives a package including an activity booklet and stickers for each student, and a teacher kit with follow-up learning resources. The activity booklets are directed at the grade four curriculum and include fun facts and games on commodities in Alberta.

Presentations are delivered based on volunteer availability. Typically, it will take new volunteers about five hours to deliver their first CAP presentation; this includes training, preparation, and the one hour in the classroom. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer or know of a school who may be interested in registering for the program, please call 403-710-1959 or email

This initiative is supported by the Minister of Education and the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. By supporting CAP, Alberta Pulse Growers is helping to ensure students continue to learn about agriculture in Alberta.