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Project Pickle calls for more farming and food economy to be taught in school curriculum

Delta council will look into spreading the program’s magic further across the Delta school district
Project pickle 2
Delta council agreed they’d like to see more children across the city involved in the agriculture-literacy program Project Pickle.

Following a grin-worthy presentation by Mike Schneider of agriculture-literacy program Project Pickle, Delta council agreed they’d like to see more children across the school district getting their hands in the dirt and fresh produce in their tummies.

Schneider’s presentation at the Jan. 10 council meeting highlighted the importance of teaching children about farming and nutritional health, especially during the pandemic when food insecurity has become an even more prominent issue.

“It brought goosebumps watching your videos, bringing the farm experience to so many young kids – it’s really special and invaluable at such a young age. It’s a privilege to have you in the district. We’re so happy to have you,” said Coun. Alicia Guichon, who chairs Delta’s agriculture committee.

And though “Farmer Mike” is already teaching 74 classes across Delta, or approximately 1,800 children, he would like to see this type of education spreading more widely across the Delta district and beyond.

“I think Delta has already taken a lead role [promoting and teaching about farming]. I can’t think of many other school districts or cities within B.C. that have gone as far as we have here. There’s still lots of room to go, but I’m really of the view that, if there’s a certain degree of collaboration between the school district, the city and other stakeholders, we can start to push this even farther from a good beginning,” said Schneider.

Coun. Jeannie Kanakos, following the presentation, asked how council can support Schneider and Project Pickle’s goals, as well as advocate for adding agriculture into school curriculums.

“I would be most appreciative if mayor and council could talk about these issues with the Ministries [of Education, Agriculture and Health] and the Premier ... It’s a common-sense approach to education – putting food and farming and agriculture into the curriculum just makes sense,” said Schneider, adding that knowing how to grow your own food could be life-saving.

Coun. Bruce McDonald highlighted that, similarly to how they promoted and created a syllabus for the rain gardens at Delta schools, a workshop and some official recommendations would help create a more concrete plan for growing these kinds of programs.

Schneider informed council that he would reach out soon with some ideas to follow up.

Council will be pulling together suggestions from the presentation, as well as working with Schneider to put together options on moving Project Pickle further across the Delta school district.

Project Pickle is a local educational program that aims to teach K-12 kids how to grow, nurture, harvest and prepare fresh produce, to create an understanding of nutritional health and an appreciation of small-scale farming, to understand the food economy and to have fun learning in an outdoor, hands-on environment.

The program, which has been growing since 2012, uses underutilized school lands to bring the farming experience straight to Delta schools.