2014 Agriculture in the Curriculum

Registration for 2014 is now closed. View the 2015 program.

Integrating Agricultural Themes Across the Curriculum

Food is often taken for granted. Students and society often have limited understanding of the sources, processes, and issues related to food production. The British Columbia Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation has devoted itself to providing teachers with useful resources to help them integrate important concepts related to food, the agriculture industry and environmental sustainability into their classrooms.

Agricultural literacy is located in three broad educational movements:

  • place-based education;
  • environmental/ecological education; and,
  • health literacy and healthy school initiatives.

Systems thinking and sustainability are key concepts for consideration. This course explores practical ways to integrate concepts related to food production and consumption, food safety, agricultural issues, and sustainability across the curriculum at all grade levels.

The course examines best practices in implementation, such as pedagogies of engagement, interdisciplinary/integrative studies, and outdoor studies. Through active participation, field trips, guest speakers, and video presentations, participants will expand their knowledge of agriculture and food concepts and issues and reflect on their own values and orientations.

Ways to incorporate this new knowledge into existing courses will be explored with ethical defensibility being the guiding principle. The goal is to develop a conception of agriculture literacy that provides the foundation for curriculum projects and professional practice.

Gurinder Cheema & Joe Massie

Gurinder’s Story

I became engrossed with the agriculture industry when I married a farmer almost twelve years ago. I believe strongly in keeping farming alive for the future, and so am involved in a number of agriculture groups including British Columbia Young Farmers (BCYF), and British Columbia Agriculture in the Classroom (BCAITC). These volunteer opportunities have aided in strengthening my knowledge about the ‘food story’ and connecting more closely with the farming community in BC. I also completed my MEd with a major paper focusing on food literacy in the classroom.

My work on the family farm and in the agriculture sector inspires me to share my knowledge with my students. As a middle school classroom teacher, I have taught a variety of subjects during my 10-year teaching career, including Health and Career Education, a subject I dedicate to concepts of healthy living and local food production. I incorporate strategies from the BCAITC foundation such as Spuds in Tubs, where my students grow potatoes in the classroom. As well, in Social Studies, I engage my students in debates around sustainable farming practices, the disappearing Agricultural Land Reserve, and environmental impacts of food miles.

Mainly, I am concerned about the general disconnect between consumers and producers of food, and how the general public seems no longer interested in agriculture and farming in Canada. I believe there are food security and environmental challenges that need to be overcome in the next few decades, and we all need to start thinking about how to produce and consume in a socially and environmentally responsible way. Educating students and colleagues about these issues and getting them involved in the debate or at least conscious of the phenomenon is very important to me, which is why I enjoy instructing this course, which is dedicated to teaching teachers how to infuse agriculture and food literacy into their curricula.

Joe’s Story

Born and raised in Chilliwack, BC, I have been heavily involved in Agriculture for my entire life. I spent my childhood working and playing on a dairy farm and later, on a beef cattle hobby farm. I have owned and raised animals and plants for as long as I can remember. During my youth I was employed by a local greenhouse and worked in the floriculture industry for 8 years.

I decided to enter the teaching profession and have worked hard to obtain my Science and Education bachelor degrees, as well as my Master’s in Education Technology. I currently run the Agriculture program at Sardis Secondary School in Chilliwack, which includes a working greenhouse and a new Agriculture Learning Centre that includes school gardens, research projects and community supported agriculture gardens. My department works closely with many community members to educate our students on real-world Agriculture issues and opportunities.

I believe that equipping students with food literacy is essential as they enter the workforce and start to make choices on what food they will eat and feed to their families. Giving students hands-on experience with food will allow them to expand their knowledge of agriculture as well as food concepts and issues.

On a personal note, I am a proud husband and father of two children. I enjoy living in Chilliwack and am actively involved in my church and community.

Abbotsford, BC

South Abbotsford Church | 32424 Huntingdon Rd | Map
Please note the change in location, as of July 21, 2014.
July 21–25, 2014

8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Monday–Friday

Registration & Fees

There are several pathways for participation in this program. The fees for the program will depend on your admission category.

UBC Student Registration

To register in the course for credit, students must be admitted to the UBC Faculty of Education (Vancouver campus);
please see "Admission to UBC" below. Once admitted, using their Campus wide login ID and password, students register through the Student Service Centre.

For current UBC tuition, visit UBC Tuition Fees for the Education per credit tuition fees.

UBC Students

For current tuition information please refer to the UBC Calendar.

Visiting Graduate Students

Visiting graduate students who wish to take credit courses must register for those courses and will be assessed tuition fees at the prevailing graduate per credit rate, plus authorized student fees.

Tuition fees are subject to review by The University of British Columbia. The Western Deans Agreement does not apply to this course.

Tuition Fee Certificates

Current UBC students may use Tuition Fee Certificates toward tuition or non-credit fees. The certificates do not cover the cost of course materials, texts, or other fees. Contact Professional Development & Community Engagement for more information: 604.822.2013 | pdce.educ@ubc.ca

Student Assessed Fees

Certain additional fees apply to students who take courses on campus.

In the case of the U-Pass and AMS Extended Health and Dental Plan, students who meet certain requirements may opt out of paying the fees during the first two weeks of the term.

To see whether you qualify for the U-Pass fee exemption, read the U-Pass FAQ information.

If you think you qualify for an exemption, using your CWL ID and password logon to the student service centre and click on the Financial Summary tab to navigate to the U-Pass fee exemption page.

Students registered in on-campus courses in the Summer Session are not assessed Health/Dental Plan fees.

You can also find out whether the AMS Extended Health and Dental Plan fee applies to you by visiting the Student Service Centre. If you already have medical/dental coverage (other than BC MSP), you may be able to apply for an exemption if you meet certain requirements and follow the necessary procedures.

Admission to UBC

To register in the course for credit, students must be admitted to the UBC Faculty of Education (Vancouver campus).

Admission to UBC

Undergraduate Students

All non-UBC students wishing to register in the courses must be first be admitted to the UBC Faculty of Education. Information on admission/readmission is available on the Teacher Education Office website.

Visiting Graduate Students

To be eligible for admission as a visiting student to UBC, students must be currently registered in a graduate program with good standing at the home university.

For assistance with the online admission procedures, contact the Department of Curriculum & Pedagogy Graduate Secretary: Basia Zurek.

Admission Categories

  • Unclassified Students
    If you wish to enroll in studies not intended to lead to a particular degree or diploma (such as a single course, a summer institute, or a 15-credit certificate program), you can apply as an Unclassified Student. Students with degrees who wish to register in education courses are admitted to the Faculty of Education as Unclassified, 5th year students, and typically already have a recognized degree.
  • Diploma Students
    If you wish to complete a 30-credit UBC-conferred post-degree diploma, apply for admission in this category, and be sure to indicate the specific Diploma program you are applying to.
  • UBC-Okanagan Students (Cross-Campus Registration)
    • All UBC-O students must contact pro-d.educ@ubc.ca or 604.822.3999 for assistance in registering for UBC-Vancouver Faculty of Education courses.
    • Cross campus registration is intended for UBC Okanagan undergraduate students interested in taking some courses at the Vancouver campus. To be considered for registration at the Vancouver campus, Okanagan undergraduate students must meet certain criteria. Further information is provided on the Okanagan Campus Students website.
    • UBC Vancouver Faculty of Education students who are interested in taking courses at the Okanagan campus should contact the program advisor for approval: Bette Shippam, Teacher Education Office.


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This program is run jointly with the BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation (AITC).