The Roots of Bruce Project was first offered to the grades five and six classes throughout Bruce County in April, 1995. Each spring, subsequent to this date, our agriculture and food education committees invite students and teachers to participate in this interactive learning opportunity. Over the past 20 years, well over 20,000 students have experienced this unique local community volunteer-based event.
Each year, food commodity groups set up twenty-four information learning stations in the three Agricultural Society Buildings in Walkerton. Each class is divided into 3 groups. Students have the opportunity to see one building in the morning, and another in the afternoon. Admission is $5 per student for the day.
Some highlight activities have been the introduction to Canada’s New Food Guide presented by the Grey Bruce Health Unit, the climb-on harvesting combine provided by Soils and Crops, the sheep shearing demonstration using a handpowered shearer, a healthy snack demonstration given by our local chefs, a “Veggie Freddie” act by Ontario Foodland, and an Agri-Food Trivia Contest, “Are you smarter than a fifth grader?”
In 2000, Hillcrest Central School in Teeswater responded to our challenge to write and perform a Bruce County Song about agriculture and food. Diane Wall’s class sang their production of “The Bruce County Farmer” on CKNX radio. They were awarded a class trip to Flower Pot Island and each student received a recorded CD copy. Click on ‘Video’ on our Home Page to hear them sing!
In 2001, a Nutrition Kit and Unit of Study Resource Bin were donated and these are available in each school library in Bruce County.
Many classroom resource materials provided by OAFE continue to be distributed to all school participants. The components of these resource materials, complementary to the Ontario Curriculum, have been incorporated through various themes over the past years: ie From Farm Gate to Your Table, Food to Your Good Health, The ABCs of Food and Agriculture, Food, Farm and Fun, Eat Right, Eat Local. The latest resource materials, including the podcast, “Food to Your Good Health” and Veggie Mania (with a Teacher Guide) are available from OAFE at www.oafe.org.
Each spring, during the Roots of Bruce two day event, about 300 community volunteers from the Women’s Institutes, Rotarians, retired teachers, and high school students form a team. This team serves to plant the seeds of learning about agriculture and food’s important role in living healthy lives.
The Roots of Bruce Project continues to be endorsed by both the Bluewater District and the Bruce-Grey Catholic District School Boards. Our committees continue to boast yearly successes. We commend the full support of the Bruce County Commodity Food Groups whose efforts make the Roots of Bruce Project a very valuable community activity.