Monday, August 17, 2020

4-H BC - Growing BC Farmers & Leaders!

I know the past few months have been especially challenging for young people, but thanks to the creativity of 4-H BC, their camp program has been adapted so youth can safely learn about B.C. agriculture.  

As BC’s Minister of Agriculture, and the MLA for Saanich South, I am so proud to support 4-H BC and the young people of our community in becoming our future agriculture and community leaders. Our commitment helps ensure that agriculture learning is accessible to all youth throughout B.C. 

Last month, a small group of 4-H British Columbia teen members gathered at the Saanich Fairgrounds to learn more about B.C. agriculture through the Food for Thought agriculture awareness day-camp program, delivered by 4-H BC. 

Due to COVID-19, 4-H BC is adapting its Food for Thought conference into a series of six one-day agriculture awareness programs for 4-H members who are age 14 to 15 years. They’re offering virtual farm tours and agriculture presentations for small groups this summer in Abbotsford, Rock Creek, Kamloops, Williams Lake, Vanderhoof - and here in Saanich! 

Over the next year, the B.C. government is committing $153,000 to 4-H BC to support the club and their programming including youth farm safety and outreach program that supports underrepresented groups, and fun Buy BC 4-H BC Instagram contest that encourages 4-H members to celebrate B.C. products on social media. 

During the pandemic, my ministry’s youth development staff have been working with 4-H club leadership, members and volunteers providing them with guidance in organizational management, agriculture and community leadership education. My youth development team recently supported 4-H BC in adapting existing youth and volunteer programs to virtual formats, in developing the new 4-H @ Home project and in creating a new gardening-basics video series for at home gardeners. 

This past Spring I was thrilled to announce $50,000 for the Field to Fork Challenge. This fun contest asks the 4-H members to create and submit videos of themselves preparing a recipe highlighting a B.C. ingredient, such as produce, meat, dairy, grain or honey. The videos will include information about how the ingredient was farmed, raised or processed and how it can be used in culinary creations.  

The winners from two categories, junior and senior, will be awarded cash prizes. Winners from the senior category will also go to Vancouver to attend the Field to Fork Challenge Weekend, along with some special guest participants from the Agriculture in the Classroom Take a Bite of BC program. The trip includes four days of touring farms, meetings chefs, participating in a cooking challenge and spending a day at the next Every Chef Needs a Farmer, Every Farmer Needs a Chef event, giving them an opportunity to interact with leading chefs and farmers from around the province. 

4-H BC Junior & Senior Members entry deadline is August 31st, 2020 and the BC AITC Take a Bite of BC Students contest closes September 30th, 2020. 

I’m looking forward to sharing some of the videos on Facebook/Twitter and Instagram when they come in. It thrills me to no-end when we can support our youth in developing passions around food and agriculture.  

What a great investment in the future of BC!