The Classroom Agriculture Program (CAP) is a well-known and highly respected education program for grade 4 students. The focus is on creating a broader understanding of the food we eat and where it comes from. Students start to understand the value and importance of agriculture in Alberta, the vast opportunities, and the people and producers that drive the industry. Volunteers deliver the program through storytelling, engaging props, and fun activities.
Starting as a volunteer back in 1991, Don George has since become the general manager of CAP. In 2023, he’s still passing on his knowledge of agriculture to the next generation.
“My dad lived on a farm and ran a country grain elevator his whole career,” says George. “I was around [agriculture] all the time.”
George’s experience continued to grow as he attended post-secondary to become an environmental scientist.
“I didn’t think I was going into agriculture,” says George. “But a career opportunity came up to work for Agriculture Canada and I took it. I worked for 26 years with Agriculture Canada in Lethbridge, Vegreville, and Red Deer.”
Now retired from his career as an environmental scientist, George has made it his priority for the last thirty-two years to educate young minds through the CAP program: a program that reaches 20,000 grade 4 students annually.
This year, CAP brought him to the classroom of his granddaughter, Hazel, where George was able to see his love of agriculture come full circle.
“I’ve [presented CAP in] all of my children’s classes,” says George proudly, “and now I’m doing it for my grandchildren’s classes.”
George’s presentation includes may activities, including videos, demonstrations, and even hands-on opportunities.
“Wheat, oats, barley, and canola: we have the actual samples and we talk about them,” says George. “This year I got tiny Ziplock bags and told the kids that they could each take three or four seeds home, and in the spring when the snow is all gone, they could plant them and grow their own crop!”
Every year brings a new group of grade 4 students eager to learn, and the CAP program has many passionate volunteers, like George, available for booking!
Visit classroomagricultureprogram.ca to learn more.