Ontario Agri-Food Education Inc. (OAFE)
acknowledges the ongoing support of the Ontario
Cattlemen’s Association. OAFE is a not-for-profit,
registered charity dedicated to increasing awareness of
the agriculture and food industry in Ontario through
the provision of educational programs and resources.
Throughout 2007, OAFE activities focused on raising
awareness of the agri-food industry to students or the
public and raising awareness about OAFE to potential
stakeholders. Along with the more traditional
approaches of “Agriculture in the Classroom,” OAFE
became involved in several new projects aimed at
raising awareness beyond the classroom.
Following the strategic directions created and supported
by the Board of Directors, many achievements were
made in 2007. Highlights from the past year include:
The development and production of current, balanced,
and curriculum-linked classroom resources about agriculture,
food and nutrition continued to be the focus of
OAFE’s activities throughout 2007. Five new print
resources were created, including: Climate Change and
You!; Meeting the Challenge (Gr.9-11); The Pesticide
Debate (Gr. 9-12); Freggie’s Eat Smart Nutrition Unit
(Gr. 3); Nutritious and Delicious! Vegetables and Fruit
(Gr. 1-8); and VeggieMania (Gr. 3-5). OAFE also
developed the Teacher’s Guide to support the Virtual
Farm Tours CD, an educational awareness project of
the Ontario Farm Animal Council. OAFE’s trivia game,
Farms, Food: Fun An Agri-Knowledge Challenge, originally
developed for the Journey to Your Good Health booth at
the 2006 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, was updated
and made available in DVD format for teachers to use
in the classroom. The Agri-Knowledge Challenge is a
fun, interactive way to teach students in grades 4-10
about food production, nutrition, agricultural
innovation, and general agriculture.
Two issues of the OAFE Update newsletter for teachers
were featured as mini-resources on timely topics that
supported elementary curriculum. The Spring issue,
Every Day is Earth Day, focused on information and
activities related to environmental topics, while the Fall
issue, Nutrition and Canada’s Food Guide, provided
activities that reinforced healthy eating as outlined in
the new Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating.
A new venture for OAFE, is a fun and interactive Web
site - www.farmsfoodfun.com - where kids can explore
farming, food and nutrition. Launched at the Royal
Agricultural Winter Fair, this project was a co-operative
effort between OAFE, the Ontario Farm Animal Council
and AGCare. Anchored by the Agri-Knowledge Trivia
Challenge Game, the site also features games, educational
fact sheets, and craft activities.
2) VOLUNTEER CONNECTIONS
Over the past few years OAFE has made a commitment
to work closely with and support other volunteer-based
agricultural organizations which share a desire to promote
agri-food education. We expanded our initiatives in this
area in 2007 by attending several events and conducting
workshops for local ‘AITC’ groups and fairs attending the
Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies convention.
We also provided educational materials to teachers
attending local AITC and fall fair educational programs.
Students attending these events were each provided with
a copy of a new 48-page Fun Food Facts Activity Book
which covers nutrition and agriculture from A to Z.
OAFE continues to recognize the efforts that these
individuals and groups put forth to support agri-food
education. Two volunteers were honoured at the annual
meeting in March, a tradition to be continued each year.
To recognize those fairs that work diligently on their
youth education days, OAFE presents the Award of
Excellence in Agriculture and Food Education. Binbrook
Fair was the 2007 recipient of this award.
OAFE again worked closely with the Royal Agricultural
Winter Fair (RAWF) in creating the “Journey to Your
Good Health” (JTYGH) exhibit for 2007. In addition to
our regular Teacher Resource Centre, our JTYGH booth
gave OAFE the opportunity to promote the importance
of the agriculture and food industry to the general public.
New this year was a large red apple display that
featured the launch of our new children’s Web site.
The premier agricultural awareness event in Canada is
the National Agriculture Awareness Conference (NAAC),
hosted every 12 to 18 months by a different province.
OAFE provided the lead role in organizing the many
people and committees that worked on the 2007 conference
hosted by Ontario, May 22nd-25th, at the London
Convention Centre. Approximately 165 delegates from
across Canada and a handful from the US, Australia and
Brazil, participated in workshops, presentations and
tours over the 3-day conference. This highly-respected
event brought national and international recognition to
OAFE’s role in promoting awareness of the agri-food
industry. The 2008 conference will be hosted by
Newfoundland from August 3rd-6th in St. John’s.
OAFE continues to partner with Country Heritage Park
on a program initiated in 2006. For the second year in
a row, Farm, Food and Fun: A Discovery Adventure
was presented to elementary students from Halton and
Peel regions. In this self-directed program, students
visit a variety education centres to learn about many
different facets of agriculture from local farmers,
volunteers and museum staff.
OAFE gratefully acknowledges the continuing financial
support and guidance of the Ontario Ministry of
Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Through a 3-year
Memorandum of Agreement, OMAFRA provides an
annual grant of $400,000 to support OAFE’s programs
Our membership support has grown over the past few
years, although membership revenues in 2007
remained consistent with 2006, with only a slight
increase from $94,000 to $95,000. To encourage
continued funding growth and reflect a growing
corporate need for flexibility in support programs, a
new membership category, “Corporate Innovator”
($7,500) and a new non-member “Donation Support”
schedule were created in 2007.
With the support of our stakeholders, the vision of
the Board of Directors and a staff passionate about the
mission of the organization, OAFE will continue to raise
awareness about the agri-food industry and create an
environment and structure that will facilitate growth
of the organization.