Saturday 23 September 2017

Are You A City Slicker?

I am...

But mostly in the literal sense that I live in the city. Not a BIG city, yet it's still an urban area. But I'm not a traditional city slicker because unlike many kids that live in the city, I know a lot about agriculture. Obviously—my grandparents are canola farmers! (You already knew that.)

I guess not everyone is as lucky as me to have farmers in the family.

Yesterday, more than 300 Grade 4-6 city slickers spent the day at the Multicultural Heritage Centre in Stony Plain to learn about the importance of agriculture. Commodity groups, such as the Alberta Canola Producers Commission, from across the province told their stories—and Dawn Ius, the author of the Superman Duffy books, was there to share the newest (and last) graphic novel in the series, "O." That's the one about Canadian inventions, including canola (which celebrates its 50th birthday this year!)

It sounds like a fun event, but I wasn't sure why kids would have to go to something like this to learn about agriculture—doesn't everyone know that milk comes from cows? Not quite, my grandma says. (Which is why the book I Approve was written—we can't make any assumptions about what the public knows and believes.)

Okay, so it's clearly important to talk about where our food comes from. But there are some other great reasons for events such as City Slickers. Like, the simple fact that people are interested. If you've never watched harvesting in the fall, it's pretty amazing. At City Slickers this year, kids got to see live, fuzzy chicks. They rolled canola seeds to make oil. They heard the story of the first canola farmer. That's some seriously INTERESTING stuff, don't you think?

Agriculture education also puts a face on the people behind food production—the farmers who till the land, the producers who milk the cows and feed the pigs, the mechanics who keep the equipment running, and so on and so on. Did you know that there are more than 100 jobs in the agriculture field? You can learn about a bunch of them in the Superman Duffy graphic novel, It Takes A Village.

Actually, if you didn't get a chance to go to City Slickers, but you ARE a city slicker, I'd recommend reading all 16 of the Superman Duffy series—you won't believe what you can learn! (And they're free for Alberta elementary school classrooms...)

Gotta jet! I'm preparing some very special October posts in celebration of my favourite holiday, HALLOWEEN. The first one goes live next Friday. It's going to be spooktacular....mwha ha ha...

~ Chase Superman Duffy

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