Teacher Champion - Sara Liebel
In this issue of our BCAITC Teacher Champion series, we profile BC teacher Sara Liebel. Discover her passion for educating students about BC agriculture, food, and the environment.
Q: What school do you teach? A: Raymer Elementary in Kelowna.
Q: What grade(s) do you teach? A: Grade 3/4.
Q: How and when did you first learn about BCAITC? A: I learned about the organization when I started teaching at Raymer Elementary five years ago. The school has been running the BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program for a while.
Q: How long have you been teaching students about BC agriculture and food? A: I grew up on an orchard farm in Osoyoos and have always felt it is important to share with my students where our food comes from. Growing up in the Okanagan, seeing all the orchards around us, it's important for children to know about the food resources in their community. I have been teaching for 12 years and I have shared the importance of agriculture and food every year.
Q: What are the most important things that you want your students to learn about BC agriculture and food? A: That we grow a variety of food right here in the Okanagan. It is important for children to understand how to grow their own food and to experience a variety of food in their diet.
Q: BCAITC has over 500 free downloadable resources including lesson plans, activities, videos, recipes, and more! What is your favourite BCAITC resource and why? A: We like using the Fresh Stories based around the fruit and vegetables we receive with the BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program. It's a great way to understand the history of that fruit or vegetable and learn a little bit more about what you eat!
Q: What is your favourite BCAITC program and why? A: Our school loves the BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program +Milk. These programs allow students to try BC foods they might not have tried before. It also nourishes them if they don't have enough food that day in their lunch. The variety of fruit and vegetables always makes for a great discussion around snack time around healthy food and whether it was grown in the Okanagan.
Q: Describe an agriculture or food-based project/program you have implemented in your classroom/school recently. A: We had a parent bring in their homemade machine (once a washing machine) to make apple juice. The students were able to try local apples and then watch and participate in the process of making apple juice. Every student had a new appreciation for apple juice!
Also, I love doing a plant unit with my class. We grow a variety of vegetables including growing tomato plants from space (the Tomatosphere™ project)! The students get to examine a variety of seeds, and then learn how to care for plants, and at the end of our unit, we have a classroom full of green plant life. The students get to take plants home and plant them in their own gardens. I had a student come back in September and bring their plant to show me how much it has grown over the summer!
Q: Do you have any advice for other educators on how to integrate agriculture and food education into their curriculum? A: I feel connecting with your community and getting to know your local farmers is a valuable educational tool. Having the children connect to their community, their local farmers, the land, and the food they eat are important.
About the Teacher Champion Series: This monthly BCAITC series features BC teachers and school staff who are passionate about providing agriculture and food education to K-12 students. For more information, contact BCAITC Communications Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org.