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Alberta Pulse Growers Go Back to School: The Classroom Agriculture Program (PCN Spring 2014) MAY 5 2014 | Consumers and Producers | Pulse Crop News

This article appeared in the Spring 2014 issue of Pulse Crop News.

Karen Spelay, Classroom Agriculture Program

The Classroom Agriculture Program (CAP) provides rural and urban elementary students in Alberta a unique opportunity to learn about the tradition and future of agriculture. While this program has been around for nearly thirty years, CAP recently incorporated as a Society and is launching its first program year as an independent organization. The program is off to a stellar start with over 22,000 grade four students registered across the province and plans to reach 30,000 over the next 2 years.

“CAP is the only program of its kind: curriculum connected, delivered in class, by volunteers from across the agriculture industry. The presenters have a vested interest in sharing these important messages because the future of the agriculture industry relies on this new generation understanding its important role in our day to day lives,” Karen Spelay, General Manager, Classroom Agriculture Program.

CAP is a multi-commodity initiative supported by The Alberta Pulse Growers Commission and other agriculture groups in Alberta including Agriculture for Life, the Alberta Barley Commission, Alberta Beef Producers, Alberta Canola Producers, Alberta Chicken Producers, Alberta Institute of Agrologists, Alberta Irrigation Projects Association, Alberta Milk, Alberta Veterinary Medical Association, Alberta Wheat Commission, Eastern Irrigation District and the Egg Farmers of Alberta. CAP is a not for profit organization and is provided for free to grade four classes across Alberta. This is possible thanks to membership support.

CAP is endorsed by the Minister of Education and the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. CAP classroom material and program content are connected to the grade four curriculum making the presentation a valuable tool for Alberta’s teachers.

“In the past, students who didn’t themselves live on a farm may have had grandparents or family that did. As society has become more urbanized, that situation no longer exists, and agriculture is becoming more and more removed from its roots—making CAP so important – it helps children connect to agriculture and their food,“ says David Sprague, Chair of the Classroom Agriculture Program Society.

As a member of CAP, the Alberta Pulse Growers Commission provides financial support to the organization and pulse content in materials shared with students. CAP is delivered free of charge to grade four students across Alberta. Children learn about the food they eat and where it comes from, the importance of agriculture in Alberta and the career opportunities available in a vibrant agricultural industry. Volunteer presenters come from all areas of agriculture, and join students in class to deliver a one hour presentation. Classroom resources and material and training are provided to all presenters. If you are interested in participating as a volunteer classroom presenter, you can register online and find out more about the program at

All volunteers all have unique presentations because each presenter 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.

CAP is helping children make a connection between agriculture and how it affects their daily lives. This connection is vital to the future of agriculture in Alberta and the industry as a whole. By supporting CAP, the Alberta Pulse Growers Commission is ensuring that students continue to learn about the economic and environmental importance of agriculture in Alberta.