Awards & Recognition

Outstanding Teacher in Agriculture Award


2023 Outstanding Teacher in Agriculture - Aaron Veenstra

BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation (BCAITC) is pleased to announce that Aaron Veenstra is the recipient of the 2023 BCAITC Outstanding Teacher in Agriculture Award. Aaron Veenstra received this award for demonstrating outstanding leadership and innovation in agriculture education. The award was presented to him at BC Agriculture Council’s BC Agri-Foods Industry Gala on January 24, 2024.

Aaron Veenstra is a Grade 6 teacher from A.S. Matheson Elementary in Kelowna, he is passionate about agriculture and food and has been integrating it into his classroom for several years. He started by including agriculture and food in local and global issues like multiculturalism, sustainability and social justice, because of their relevance. Also, it is an exciting way to celebrate the different cultural backgrounds of the students!

Veenstra remarks “The most important things I want my students to understand are where our food comes from and what they buy and eat can have significant contributions to their own health and to the health of our planet.” Aaron thinks globally and acts locally. He says “Food education is a relatable and easy topic to bring into the classroom. Connect food with the land and start thanking the land for what it gives us, and go outside to do this. Going outside more often, even without intention allows students to start connecting with the land more often. As students become more familiar with what the land gives us, and we give them more chances to connect with the land, they will start to care for it more. This is so important, because why would they want to protect something they don't care about?” He teaches students about what grows in BC, about eating local foods and the positive economic and community impact of buying and eating local.

Aaron has involved students in starting gardening programs in the school. He also started a school-wide composting program. Students learn about the benefits of composting vs the impact of food ending up in the landfill. His students also taught the other classes in the school to participate.

BCAITC congratulates Aaron Veenstra on this prestigious award! 

BCAITC has been presenting BC teachers with the Outstanding Teacher in Agriculture Award since 2004. The award acknowledges teachers who are ambassadors for agriculture education - they are people who make it a priority for their students to learn about BC food and farming. Thank you to DairyCrop for generously sponsoring this award.  

Previous Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award Recipients

  • 2022 - Michelle Johnsrude
  • 2021 - Robin Ruff
  • 2020 - Gary Funk
  • 2019 - Monica Bradbury
  • 2018 - Chef Brian Smith
  • 2017 - Tania Toth
  • 2016 - Karla Stroet
  • 2015 - Patricia Regan
  • 2014 - Joe Massie
  • 2013 - Chef Gerald Worobetz
  • 2012 - Lori Pilling
  • 2011 - Gail Chan and Chef Randle

2024 Outstanding Teacher in Agriculture Award Nominations

Each year, we recognize a BC teacher who has been a champion in agriculture education. Nominations for the 2024 Outstanding Teacher in Agriculture Award will be accepted from October 1 to December 1, 2024. Watch this page for more information (coming fall 2024). 

BC Regional Science Fair Awards 

To highlight the connection between agriculture and science, BCAITC supports the Science Fair Foundation of British Columbia. Each year, we contribute 13 regional science fair awards for outstanding projects that demonstrate the practical application of scientific principles to agriculture.

2023 Science Fair Award Winners by Region

2022 Science Fair Award Winners by Region

2021 Science Fair Award Winners by Region

Visit the Science Fair Foundation BC for more information on BC science fairs and awards, student resources, and the Science Fair Mentorship Program.

BCAITC Scholarship for 4-H BC Members

Every year, BCAITC supports 4-H British Columbia (4-H BC) by awarding a $1,000 scholarship to an active member of the organization who is enrolled (or plans to be enrolled) in a BC university Teacher Education Program. We are pleased to announce that Ella Carson is the recipient of the 2023 BCAITC scholarship! Congratulations Ella! 

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