by Stephen Dafoe
Students and teachers from Morinville Community High School spent several days last week learning about Alberta agriculture and the science, technology, and innovations behind it at the Cultivate Youth Agriculture Leadership Summit.
The event, hosted by Inside Education with the support of the Canadian Agriculture Partnership, Alberta-based agriculture producer and commodity groups, and Alberta’s energy sector, took place in Olds from March 5-8 and brought 20 of the province’s high schools together.
“This was Inside Education’s 10th annual provincial-scale youth summit, and the first one dedicated specifically to agriculture,” said Inside Education Program Director Kathryn Wagner. “The summit was designed to enhance understanding about agriculture and agri-food in Alberta and promote youth leadership through education and action projects.”
Morinville Community High School Urban Agriculture Teacher Neil Korotash said four of his students attended the Summit.
“We were one of 20 schools selected from over 40 applications,” Korotash said, adding students got to spend time with Agricultural experts from around the province exploring the nexus of Agriculture, energy, water, and how those issues are interrelated. “Students got an opportunity to tour farms and network with professionals and other students from around the province.”
Highlights of the Cultivate Summit included a technology tour of Olds College research facilities and tours of local dairy, beef, and bison farms as well as a commercial greenhouse. The Summit also included workshops.
Korotash said students will now use what they learned to continue to promote agriculture education in the community.
“Our school project arising from the conference will be a demonstration garden in front of the school,” he said. “Students plan to grow all of the major crops that are grown in the Sturgeon County area so that all visitors to the school and MCCC will be able to see what is produced in our region. The plan is to have a QR code displayed with each crop so that people can visit a site that shows recipes and some information about each crop.”
Korotash said they would also be working with one of Morinville’s newest businesses – Sturgeon Brewery.
“Students were also inspired by Olds Student Alex Villeneuve, who is growing mushrooms from spent brewers grain,” he said. “Students have already reached out to Sturgeon Brewery here in Morinville and made arrangements to get some spent grain so that they can try growing mushrooms as well. Stay tuned.”