A new program aimed at educating and engaging South Australian primary school students about all things agriculture has been launched today by Primary Producers SA.

Educating Kids About Agriculture will provide teachers and students with hands-on, on-farm or in-school experiences which explore livestock, cropping, horticulture, viticulture and sustainable water management.

Chair of PPSA’s Educating Kids About Agriculture Steering Committee Dr Don Plowman said primary industries were often misunderstood, with many students unaware of how their food gets from paddock to plate.

“The Educating Kids About Agriculture program is working to change this, and introduce the science, innovation and technology used to grow high-quality sustainable food,” he said.

“Primary industries and agribusiness are significant pillars of SA’s economy, so the project team are excited to be playing a part and helping showcase agriculture to students and teachers throughout SA. 

“We have three education hubs in SA which are delivering a range of activities, and after a successful pilot phase we are now inviting primary schools to participate and utilise the resources.

“The Hubs help us cover much of SA, plus they offer complimentary education activities to suit different year levels and curriculum areas.”

The program launch is timed to celebrate National Agriculture Day, held later in this week (19 November). This year’s National Agriculture Day is celebrating the diverse and fulfilling career opportunities in agriculture, encouraging people to choose their own ‘agventure’.

National Agriculture Day ambassador George the Farmer attended the Educating Kids About Agriculture launch.

George the Farmer founder and director Simone Kain has developed a series of videos, virtual reality experiences and resource books for teachers with each focusing on a specific food or fibre, such as chickpeas.

“The chickpea resource book provides teachers and students with more in-depth information about the chickpea plant, growing conditions, harvesting and uses – as well as the benefits of growing pulses for soil nutrition,” Ms Kain said.

“There is also a section dedicated to ‘Careers In Chickpeas’ which emphasises the many opportunities agriculture offers in science, technology, and machinery operations – as well as growing the crop.”

Other hubs of the Educating Kids About Agriculture program are AgCommunicators’ Food and Fibre Education SA (who deliver Healthy Plants, Healthy People, and the science awards), as well as the Wickedly Water Efficient sustainable water use and wicking program.

The Wickedly Water Efficient program, delivered by Jeanette Gellard and Dr Kerri Muller, provides a free water use efficiency kit to each school – which includes a soil moisture probe, a range of seeds and growing resources, free downloadable power point presentations, student worksheets and activities, and live webinars with agricultural scientists and communicators. 

The workshop will also deliver a face-to-face ‘kick start’ session and facilitate an opportunity for participating students to visit a working farm and talk with a wickedly water efficient farmer.

All programs in the Educating Kids About Agriculture Program are free of charge.

The skilled education teams can visit primary schools and provide support, resources and equipment to help deliver the program effectively. 

The project has been delivered in SA through Primary Producers SA, with support from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment through funding from the Australian Government’s Educating Kids About Agriculture initiative. Program delivery partners are AU2100, Food and Fibre Education SA and George the Farmer.

‘Chickpea Harvest with George The Farmer’ can be viewed on YouTube or on ABC iView. The Chickpeas teacher resource is available from georgethefarmer.com.au/products/chickpeas

Teachers can register their interest at: ppsa.org.au