Connecting Students to Agriculture
Awarding Excellence in Agriculture Education
BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation applauds all BC teachers and educators for their continued efforts and dedication towards nurturing a curiosity and passion for agriculture in our youth. Since 2011, it has been our honour to recognize BC teachers who have been champions in agriculture education with our annual Outstanding Teacher in Agriculture Award. This year’s award is sponsored by DairyCrop.
And the Award Goes to...
The BCAITC Outstanding Teacher in Agriculture Award is open to teachers in the BC public, independent, and First Nations school systems. Nominees can be educators in K-12 BC Culinary Arts, Food Studies, Outdoor Studies, Environmental Science, and Life Science, as well as any other teachers whose classroom lessons touch upon agriculture and food.
We’re looking for nominees who contribute unique or excellent teaching tools, techniques, or curriculum content, and/or present ongoing professional development and opportunities to expand students’ and colleagues’ relationships to agriculture learning. Previous recipients of this award include teachers who introduced new agriculture technology programs, hosted agriculture career days, wrote agriculture into the school curriculum, or started their whole school on a garden project.
Nominate an Outstanding Teacher Now!
Nominations for the 2024 Outstanding Teacher in Agriculture Award will open from September 29 to December 1, 2024. If you know a teacher who has gone above and beyond to teach BC's agriculture and food story, we invite you to fill out this nomination form and email it to email@example.com by December 1, 2024.
Past Recipients of the Award
Previous recipients of the annual BCAITC Outstanding Teacher in Agriculture Award include: 2022 — Michelle Johnsrude | 2021 — Robin Ruff | 2020 — Gary Funk | 2019 — Monica Bradury | 2018 — Brian Smith | 2017 — Tania Toth | 2016 — Karla Stroet | 2015 — Patricia Regan| 2014 — Joe Massie | 2013 — Gerald Worobetz | 2012 — Lori Pilling | 2011 — Gail Chan and Trevor Randle.
Pat Tonn(Left), Executive Director and Aaron Veenstra (Right), 2023 Outstanding Teacher in Agriculture Award Recipient
2023 Outstanding Teacher in Agriculture - Aaron Veenstra
BCAITC is pleased to announce Aaron Veenstra as the recipient of the 2023 BCAITC Outstanding Teacher in Agriculture Award. The award was presented to Aaron Veenstra for demonstrating outstanding leadership and innovation in agriculture education. BCAITC has been presenting BC teachers with the award since 2004. Previous recipients have received the award for their work with the BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program, Spuds in Tubs, Take a Bite of BC, school greenhouse programs, and an entire school approach to agriculture education.
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.
For his inspiration and leadership in agriculture education, BCAITC is pleased to recognize Aaron Veenstra with the Outstanding Teacher in Agriculture of the Year award.
Partners Make It Possible — Thank You!
Thank you to DairyCrop for sponsoring the annual Outstanding Teacher in Agriculture Award.
To find out how you or your business can support this exciting program, contact BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation or check out our Partnership Opportunities.
Teachers and Schools Ask the Best Questions
Any teacher who is currently teaching in the BC K-12 public, independent, or First Nations school system and holds a teaching certificate is eligible for this award.
We notify the winner of the annual award in early January of the following year.