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New Norwell DSS program to immerse students in agriculture, farm to fork

October 5, 2017

PALMERSTON, Ontario – An exciting new program is coming to Norwell District Secondary School next year.

The Palmerston high school is developing a new program called LEAF – Local Environmental Agriculture & Food.

According to the school, “Agriculture is the backbone of this community and we feel it is important for our students to learn how farmers are growing food, taking care of the land, and enhancing the local economy.”

The LEAF program is a hands-on, farm to fork experience.

Students will gain experience growing food in the garden and greenhouse, cooking with local food, and making the connection between farms and food to the environment. The will also have the opportunity to visit local farms, meeting with farmers and learning about different careers in agriculture.

Students enrolled in LEAF will earn two credits: Grade 11 Environmental Science and Grade 12 Food & Healthy Living.

On Sept. 28, the school hosted a meeting, inviting community partners to learn more about LEAF. The hope is that the local agricultural community will be involved in the development of the new program and have a role in the process.

On Oct. 3, Norwell staff presented the program to school board trustees and senior administration at the Upper Grand District School Board’s monthly Program Committee meeting.

Norwell DSS teacher Paul Frayne presented details about LEAF, explaining the range of experiences students will have, from learning about food literacy and the importance of faming, to how agriculture is intertwined with the environment, water, air, soil and biodiversity.  

Part of the program includes weekly visits to local farms in areas such as Minto, Mapleton and Perth County.

The ties to the agricultural community are key, with students working directly with community partners to gain experience and learn more about careers in agriculture.

The LEAF program is another example of how Norwell is promoting hands-on learning. Just recently, the school installed a solar-powered charging station in one of the school’s community areas, Norwell’s Nature Nook, which allows students to charge their devices while teaching youth about renewable energy. 

The LEAF program is slated to begin in September 2018.

Stock image of a tractor in a farm field.

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